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Essays on Antl- 
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Publications, No. 2 


Edited by 


Associate Professor of History, Queens College 

With a Foreword by 

Second Edition 
Revised and Enlarged 



Copyright 1946 by The Conference on Jewish Relations, Inc. 

Printed in the United States of America 
at The Comet Press, New York City 


< The warm reception accorded to the volume of Essays on Anti- 
semitism, published by the Conference on Jewish Relations in 1942, gave 
encouragement to the editors of Jewish Social Studies to present a new 
revised and enlarged edition. Antisemitism, far from disappearing from 
the world scene after the victorious end of the war, is still an ever-present 
problem for us. Here, where this preface is being written, in the very 
center of the world's most terrifying and most systematically organized 
form of antisemitism, where the shattered remnants of once flourishing 
Jewish communities are ever present before one's eyes, where one meets 
streams of Jews coming in daily from the new "free" Poland in order to 
escape mob violence and persecution, here one may easily despair of ever 
being able to cope with this problem. Yet we dare not lose a sense of 
broader perspective. If humanity is to survive and with it the Jewish 
people, a healthy optimism that is under no illusions concerning the 
tragic complexities of the question and that does not satisfy itself with 
petty and superficial triumphs is a prime prerequisite. Intelligent study 
combined with energetic action may still be able to keep this disease 
from infecting and eventually annihilating our entire civilization. 

All the essays in the first edition have also been included in the new 
edition, most of them in revised form. To this collection have been 
added the essay on France by Hannah Arendt, the study of German racial 
antisemitism by Waldemar Gurian and a brief article on 1 the postwar 
world by the Editor. Grateful appreciation is due to Dr. Joshua Starr 
for his most valuable aid in the preparation of this volume. 

Frankfurt-on-the-Main, K. S. P. 

March 1, 1946. 

1S4&G15 MAY 2 01947 


Prior to the recent defeat of Germany and its satellites antisemitism 
had become a world power. Shattering all historical precedents it tran- 
scended the boundaries of any particular country or group of countries. 
While in the throes of defeat it scored a terrifying victory, which may 
leave ineradicable traces on the destiny of the Jewish people. Unlike its 
medieval antecedents which, notwithstanding their basic inter-territorial 
features, operated with considerable independence and lack of simul- 
taneity within the countries of Christendom and Islam, current anti- 
semitic propaganda has extended far beyond the confines of western 
civilization. It penetrated deeply into the Arabian world, despite the 
demonstrably greater "Semitism" of the Arab-speaking peoples when 
compared with the bulk of westernized Jewry. It penetrated the far 
reaches of Japan, despite the numerical and economic inferiority of its 
Jewish community and the total absence of an anti-Jewish tradition. In 
former ages, moreover, it was primarily an instrument of domestic policy, 
but in our day it has constituted a pre-eminent factor in international 
relations. The melancholy adage of a third-century Palestinian sage, 
living in an era of great Jewish sufferings, that "he who persecutes Israel 
becomes a chief' (Sanhedrin 104b) , often borne out by the history of 
domestic rivalries and the successful careerism of individual antisemites, 
has perhaps for the first time in the ages of Jew-baiting, come true on the 
world scene. The fanciful, conspicuously spurious accusation of the 
alleged Jewish drive for world dominion has served as a powerful vehicle 
of the realistic Teuton attempt at gaining complete mastery over the 

To be sure, the tidal wave of Nazi antisemitism may have reached its 
apex in 1939 when, beginning with the German conquest of Czecho- 
slovakia, it revealed its hidden imperialist aims even to uncritical minds. 
Such nations as the Poles, who but a few years ago had themselves been 
seized by the antisemltic frenzy, and have since tragically learned the true 
meaning of the anti-Jewish furor teutonicus, are still largely hostile to 
the small body of surviving Jews. Nevertheless, the speed and ease with 
which antisemitic agitators spread the new gospel before 19S9 and, 
overtly or surreptitiously, still do it in various countries has shocked 



Jews and liberal-minded Christians alike, and stirred them out of an 
age-old complacency. 

Unfortunately the Jews themselves can do relatively little about com- 
batting antisemitic propaganda. Antisemitism clearly being a "disease" 
of the Gentile nations, only a healthy reaction of the non-Jewish body 
politic may effectively counteract the spread of its fatal germs. But a 
sustained reaction of this type can be expected only if the non-Jews them- 
selves fed threatened and realize that their own interests are at stake. 
The only example in recent history of an effective counter-movement, 
the Dreyfus affair in France, has shown the efficacy of such awakening 
of public conscience among progressive non-Jews and of their realization 
that democracy as such was in danger. To save republican France against 
a clique of military and clerical reactionaries, the republic rallied and 
through its spokesmen, Zola, Cl&nenceau and others, saved both France 
and the Jewish people from a dangerous assault. 

Today again the Jews can merely play a secondary, though no less 
significant, role in this world-wide conflict. They can help by constantly 
arousing the conscience of their non-Jewish compatriots and by supplying 
them with the necessary truthful and reliable information concerning 
Jews and Judaism so as to answer the mendacious information propa- 
gandized by their opponents. In this respect the marshaling of thorough, 
scientific evidence, although perhaps of little immediate avail with 
gullible masses, may nevertheless serve as a true "arsenal" for anti- 
defamation and equip the fighters for democracy with reliable weapons. 

To the Jews, on the other hand, a calm and rational investigation of 
the underlying motivations of various antisemitic movements throughout 
the ages, of the varying methods used in the dissemination of the anti- 
semitic credo and of its impact upon general and Jewish history, ought 
to prove of great assistance in obtaining a better understanding of the 
Jewish position in the contemporary world. Gone is the serenity of 
ghetto Judaism, which could view antisemitism as but a natural accom- 
paniment to Jewish life in exile. No longer can we take it for granted, 
as one takes diseases or elementary catastrophes, which one may try to stave 
off, but whose sheer existence does not undermine morale. Emancipated 
modern Jewry, actively participating in the life and culture of western 
nations, can no longer feign indifference to the poisoning of its relations 
with its non-Jewish neighbors. Thoughtful Jews have learned with great 



chagrin that not only are their material interests at stake but that their 
entire world outlook, all the basic trends in their own modern culture 
and all their sincere attempts at finding a synthesis of Judaism and 
western culture, are deeply menaced. 

It is hoped that the essays included in the present volume will promote 
the necessary understanding of the history and psychology of antisemitism 
by both Jews and non-Jews. While the available literature on anti- 
semitism can easily fill entire libraries, there are few dispassionate, 
scholarly studies which can give guidance to a serious student of the 
problem. There are, in fact, large areas in the history of antisemitic 
movements where even the preliminary accumulation of documentary 
evidence is still sadly lacking. The present essays, written with care and 
considerable documentation by experts in their respective fields, will 
undoubtedly stimulate serious and objective thinking, and serve as an 
urgent reminder of the need of further, more detailed and even more 
searching investigations. While not necessarily subscribing to all the views 
expressed by the respective contributors, the officers of the Conference 
on Jewish Relations and the editors of Jewish Social Studies are, therefore, 
very glad to submit these essays for the consideration of all interested, 
thoughtful and critical readers. They are also deeply grateful to the 
Anti-Defamation League of the B'nai B'rith for its financial assistance 
in the publication of the present edition, considerably enlarged and re- 
vised, of this volume. 


President of the 

Conference on Jewish Relations 



Editor's Preface v 

Foreword Salo W. Baron vii 


Antisemitism in the Post- War World . Koppel S. Pinson 3 

The Economic and Social Background 

of Modern Antisemitism . . Bernard D. Weinryb 17 

Some Remarks on the Psychology of 

Antisemitism /. S. Wechsler 35 

Antisemitism. and Ourselves . Z. Diesendruck 41 

Defenses Against Antisemitism . . Jacob R. Marcus 49 


Antisemitism in the Hellenistic-Roman 

World Ralph Marcus 61 

Christian-Jewish Relations 

in the First Millennium .... Solomon Grayzel 79 

Jews in Medieval Art Joseph Reider 93 

The Jews in Medieval Law Guido Kisch 103 

The Jews and Islam Samuel Rosenblatt 112 

Antisemitism in Tsarist Russia . , . Mark Vishniak 121 
Antisemitism in Poland Raphael Mahler 145 

From the Dreyfus Affair to 

France Today Hannah Arendt 173 

Antisemitism in Modern Germany . Waldemar Gurian 218 
The Contributors 267 


Part I: 


Statesmen and publicists have by now come to realize that the sharp 
distinction once made between war and post-war problems is no longer 
valid. Post-war problems are not only created by the preceding war, but 
the very solutions to them often are born in the very midst of the war. 
The same holds true for the problem of antisemitism in the post-war 
world. No consideration of this problem is possible without an analysis 
of the effects of the war on relations between Jews and their neighbors. 
We shall, therefore, first analyze the role of antisemitism in our world 
as influenced by the events of the war. 

Liberals and humanitarians writing on the Jewish problem during 
the 19th and 20th centuries have almost invariably pointed out that the 
measure of genuine liberalism and democracy in a country is to be found 
in the treatment accorded by that country to its Jews. It was not until 
the events of the last decade, however, that this historical truth became 
patently clear to all intelligent observers of world affairs. The advent 
of the Hitlerite regime in Germany, but more especially the Nazi war 
on the rest of the world, has more clearly than ever before in the history 
of the Jewish problem identified the cause of antisemitism with the 
forces of political reaction, corruption and aggressive war. The Nazis 
made antisemitism not only a matter of internal domestic policy; it 
became the ideological cornerstone of their entire foreign and world 
policy. They identified all their enemies as Jews or Jew-controlled. 
Wherever they penetrated and spread their evil power, the first step 
was the introduction of Nazi racial and antisemitic legislation and the 
process of liquidation of Jews, In Italy, Poland, Czechoslovakia, France 
and the Low Countries, it was the same story; the first target was the Jews. 

The reverse effect of this policy was that for all opponents of Nazism 
there developed a greater awareness of the dangers of antisemitism than 
had hitherto existed. In popular estimation, the clearest and simplest 
way of identifying a Nazi was by his attitude towards Jews. Fifth 
columnists and Nazi sympathizers were spotted first by reason of their 


antisemitic utterances. 1 To be sure, astute Nazi agents, realizing this, 
soon made it a point to cover their activities by posing as philo-semites. 
There is the case of a pro-Nazi professor in an American college who 
made it his business to have himself selected as faculty adviser to the 
student Zionist organization and thus camouflage his pro-Nazi activities. 
However, for most people fighting the Nazis, the following equation 
came to hold: 

The Enemy = Nazi = Antisemite 

Thus more than ever before in the history of the Jew, antisemites came 
to be identified not merely as the enemies of Jews but as the dangerous 
enemies of the safety and security of the entire nation. This attitude 
was reflected in the propaganda activities of the United Nations. The 
antisemitism of the Nazis was placed in bold relief in the literature and 
radio programs, in the indoctrination of the armed forces and in the 
propaganda directed to occupied areas. 

The adoption by the Nazis of the racialist basis of antisemitism has 
helped to expose the fallacies of the pompous antisemitic structure they 
erected. Now, more than ever, new groups of individuals sensed the 
dangers of antisemitism. Scientists, churchmen, men of affairs, saw the 
threat of antisemitism more clearly than ever before as a result of the 
injection of racialism. This ludicrous but at the same time tragic desecra- 
tion of scientific truth and objective scholarship has opened the eyes of 
scientists all over the world to the perils of antisemitic and racial doctrines. 
Anthropologists, biologists, sociologists, historians and political scientists 
have all contributed to the unmasking of Nazi racialism. As a result, 
there is hardly a scholar of repute today who would risk his academic and 
scientific prestige to espouse openly the cause of antisemitism. This is 
quite a step forward from the days when the cases of a Dohm or a Lessing 
or a Virchow, as open assailants of antisemitism, were the rare and notable 
exceptions and when the majority of leading scholars and litentteurs shared 
in the common antisemitic prejudices of their day. The advent of Nazi 

*An interesting example of this is given by the Anglo-Jewish novelist, Louis Golding, in 
his piece. "An English. Jew Remembers the Blitz," published in the Contemporary Jewish 
Record, vol. v (February, 1942) . Describing the mingling of people in a London air-raid 
shelter, Mr. Golding then tells of a little old lady who kept talking about the Jews and how 
"the Jews were responsible for it all" and that this was nothing but a "Jewish war" brought 
on by "those Jewish communities." Then, Mr. Golding recounts, another female voice broke 
in: "Haven't the Jews suffered enough from those gangsters, those murderers?" she said. 
"Shame on you! You should go to Germanyl Your place is not here!" Then she whipped 
out her flashlight and shone it full on the other woman's face. "Look at her, everybody." 
she cried, look, look! Now you wfll know her! The spy! The Hitler woman! Pah." 


racial "science" has called forth a counter movement in the study of 
group characteristics, group differences and group prejudices which has 
gone a long way to educate the scientific and scholarly world as well as 
the lay public to a better appreciation of the errors and dangers of anti- 
semi tism. 2 

The dissemination of racial antisemitism by the Nazis has had an 
even greater influence upon the Christian churches. More and more 
leading Protestants and Catholics have come to realize the full implica- 
tions of the antisemitic campaign; they have sensed the fact that the 
fight against the Jew is really a fight against Christianity, that anti- 
semitism is what Jacques Maritain has called a "psychopathically disguised 
Christophobia." "Nazi antisemitism/' he declares, "is at the very core 
of the present ordeal of civilization. . . . Nazism begins with antisemitism 
because antisemitism is the primary symptom and victory of a drive 
which has no human aim and tends only to annihilation, to the annihila- 
tion of the image of God everywhere. ... It is our own roots, the carnal 
race of God, which are now lacerated and crushed throughout the world. 
As a Christian, I know that my God is being slapped in the face by this 
antisemitic rage. . . ." 3 The term "Judeo-Christian basis" of our Western 
civilization has come into wide use, and this is a clear indication of the 
awareness by Christian leaders that Nazi racialism and the assault upon 
the Jews is but one aspect of a determined policy to carry out in crude 
and brutal fashion Nietzsche's "transvaluation of values" and overturn 
the ethical and spiritual foundations upon which our entire civilization 
rests. Protestant leaders like Karl Earth, Reinhold Niebuhr, the late 
William Temple, James W. Parkes and Catholic church and lay leaders 
like Jacques Maritain, Paul Claudel, 4 George Shuster, Justice Frank 
Murphy and the late Cardinal Kinsley of England have taken a leading 
part in the ideological as well as the practical fight against antisemitism. 6 

2 Examples of such literature are We Europeans, by Julian Huxley, A. C. Haddon and A. M. 
Carr-Saunders (London 1935) and Race, Reason and Rubbish, by Gunmar Dahlberg (New 
York 1941) . 

'"World Trial: Its Meaning for the Future/' in Contemporary Jewish Record, vol. vi 
(August 1943) 344-45. See also Maritain's A Christian Looks at the Jewish Problem (New 
York 1941) and his article "On Antisemitism" in the Commonweal, vol. xxxvi (September 23, 
1942) 534-37. 

4 Claudel published his "Catholic Essays Against Antisemitism" at the beginning of the 
German occupation of France, but they were soon suppressed by the Nazis (See Philip 
Toynbee in The New Republic, January 29, 1945, p. 152) . 

D In the countries occupied by the Nazis, Protestant and Catholic clergymen took a bold 
stand against the Nazi persecution of the Jews. In Holland, Norway, Belgium, France and 
Denmark there are numerous instances of such courageous action. Especially noteworthy is 
the famous pastoral letter against Nazi antiscmitic measures issued by Eivand Berggrav, Bishop 


It is no accident that the courageous Cardinal Faulhaber of Munich 
delivered a series of three sermons on the Old Testament in the very first 
year of Hitler's rule. 6 For the Cardinal well pointed out that Old 
Testament Judaism is the foundation upon which Christian teaching is 
built and that the Nazi assault upon Judaism was an attack upon the 
roots of Christianity itself. 7 

We may agree or disagree with the general lines of political policy 
of the Vatican. But this much is undisputed fact: never has the papacy 
spoken in such unmistakable terms against racialism and antisemitism 
as in the words and deeds of die present pope, Pius XII, and his predeces- 
sor Pius XI. 8 In papa] encyclicals and in public speeches these two 
pontiffs have unequivocally denounced antisemitism as dangerous and un- 
Christian. "Antisemitism/' declared Pius XI, "is a movement in which 

we cannot, as Christians, have any part whatsoever No, it is not possible 

tor Christians to participate in antisemitism. . . . Antisemitism is inaft-mfa- 
sible. Spiritually we are Semites." The papacy took a strong stand 
against the introduction of racial legislation into Italy in 1938, and the 
Vatican offered asylum and security to many an Italian Jewish scholar 

of Norway, in the winter of 1941 and the courageous pastoral letter of Mgr. Theas, Bishop 
of Montauban, read at all masses and chapels in the diocese, in which he denounced the 
mass deportations of Jews. The letter of Mgr. Theas reads as follows: "My dear Brethren: 
Unhappy and often horrible scenes are taking place in France today scenes for which France 
not responsible. In Paris, by tens of thousands. Jews are being subjected to the most 
barbarous and savage treatment. And even here in our districts we are witnessing a horrible 
spectacle that of families uprooted, of men and women treated as Tile beasts and sent to 
unknown destinations there to face the gravest perils. I proclaim an indignant- protest of 
the Christian conscience and I proclaim that all men, Aryan or non-Aryan, are brothers 
because they are created by the same God, that all men, whatever their race or religion, have 
a right to the respect of individuals and of states. But these current antisemitic measures 
are executed in violation of human dignity, in violation of the sacred rights of the individual 
and of the family. May God comfort and strengthen those who are so iniquitously persecuted. 
May He bring to Mankind true and lasting peace founded on justice and charity/' See 
Free France, vol. ii, no. 8, 1942, p. 218-19. A similar protest was made by Mgr Saliege, 
Archbishop of Toulouse, on August 30. 1942: ibid., voL ii, no. 6, 1942, p. 159. See also" the 
address of the Cardinals and Archbishops of the occupied zone to Marshal Petain; ibid., no. 
8, p. 218, and the firm attitude of Cardinal Geriier of Lyons against Nazi antisemitic legisla- 
tion; ibiJL, voL ffl, no. 3. 1943, p. 97. 

Faulhaber, Michael von, Judaism, Christianity and Germany (New York 1933) . 

T "The foes of the Jewish people are waging war not only against the Jews but also against 
God. and against the values of religion. This ought to be taken into consideration, when 
watching the present tragedy of Israel.'' (Ostervatore Romano, quoted in Cuddihy and Shuster, 
Pope Phi* XI, p. 224.) ' 

See especially the important Encyclical of Pius XI, Mit bremumder Serge, issued on 



who had been removed by the fascist government. With the coming 
of the war and the mounting tragedy of European Jewry, the annals are 
full of instances of personal solicitude and direct and immediate help by 
the Pope to thousands of Jews hounded by the Gestapo. Many a Jewish 
life was saved by priests and nuns who followed the example set by Pius 
XII towards the persecuted Jews. 

Public men of affairs and statesmen have come to realize how dis- 
rupting and disintegrating a force antisemitism can be and how it imperils 
the very safety and security of the state. There is a greater awareness 
by a wider number of leaders of public opinion throughout the world 
that antisemitism is not so much a problem for the Jew to solve as it is 
for the non-Jewish world. The Jew can help; he can supply expert 
knowledge and guidance, but the ultimate responsibility for coping with 
the problem rests with the non-Jew. 10 

Certain positive advances in overcoming antisemitism undoubtedly 
derive from the actual experiences of the war. The sharing of common 
experiences, and particularly those of suffering and pain, produces a 
psychological feeling of comradeship that goes much deeper than intel- 
lectual appeals to reason or humanity. The joint participation by Jew 
and non-Jew in mortal combat against the common enemy will un- 

9 Here are a few examples, taken from news dispatches, that are concrete evidence of 
Vatican sympathy: On January 9, 1939, Catholic priests in Italy were reported teaching 
Hebrew to Jewish children in small towns having no Jewish schools. On October 27, 1937, 
Pius XII, in his first encyclical, scored racialism and totalitarianism. On January 26, 1940, 
the Vatican invited two Italian Jews, Prof. Tullio Levi-Civita and Prof. Vito Vol terra, both 
ousted by the fascist government from the University of Rome, to attend the congress of the 
Pontifical Academy of Sciences. On March 1, 1940, Pius XII appointed Roberto Almagia, a 
Jewish geographer, to the Vatican library. On March 13, 1940 the Pope was reported to be 
emphatic in his denunciation of religious and racial persecution to von Ribbentrop. On 
April 30, 1940, the Regime Fascista attacked the Vatican organ, the Osservatore Romano, as 
"a slave of Italy's enemies and manifestly a mouthpiece of the Jews." On October 17, 1943, 
the Jews of Rome, with the help of Pius XII, paid a collective fine of fifty kilograms of 
gold to the Nazis as ransom for 100 Jewish hostages, who nevertheless were not released. 
According to reports from Rome, soon after the city was liberated from the Nazis, 7,000 
Roman Jews owe their lives to the Vatican. Thousands of Catholics risked their lives to save 
their Jewish neighbors. When the Nazis forbade ritual slaughter of meat and poultry, the 
Vatican sent shohetim into Vatican City to perform the ritual slaughter there and store 
food for the Jews there. See editorial "True Christianity" in Congress Weekly, vol. xi, 
July 14, 1944. See also the reprint of the article "Civic Charity" from the Osservatore Romano 
in Congress Weekly, vol. xi, March 3, 1944. 

10 The National Committee Against Persecution of Jews, headed by Justice Frank Murphy 
of the U. S. Supreme Court, is a good example of this attitude. "The organization for which 
I speak/* declared Justice Murphy in his address to the B'nai B'rith centennial convention on 
May 8, 1944, "was organized solely by Christians. It is maintained and its activities are con- 
ducted solely by Christians who also finance it completely/' 


doubtcdly create a bond of group friendship that will make appeals to 
prejudice more difficult. For never before have Jews fought in such vast 
numbers and with such common devotion against the enemy. 11 The joint 
sharing of suffering by Jews and non-Jews in bombings, in air raid 
shelters, in civilian privations, all help to bring Jew and non-Jew closer 
together. The partnership of Jew and non-Jew in the precarious and 
heroic activity of the underground movements of liberation in the 
occupied countries of Europe is an even stronger factor for the mitigation 
of anti-Jewish feeling. 12 All these aspects of a common experience are 
factors which cannot be overlooked in any sound prognosis of anti- 
semitism in the post-war world. 

There is one other aspect of the world scene which will do much 
to mitigate antisemitism, and that pertain* to the so-called Communist 
peril. While we may, as Jews and as citizens, affirm the right of any 
Jew to hold any political views he may see fit; and while, as historians, 
we are of course quite correct in refuting the antisemitic identification 
of Bolshevism with Jews, it nevertheless remains a fact that during the 
entire period between 1918 and 1939 the blazing fire of antisemitism 
in the world was fed with more fuel from the bogey of "Jewish Bolshevism" 
than from any other single charge against the Jews. And while it is 
obviously not true that all Jews were Bolsheviks, the presence among 
the leaders of the Russian Bolsheviks of many Jewish figures gave a 
semblance of authenticity to this antisemitic charge, which fooled many 

Good illustrations of this point are found in the articles on Jews in the American Army 
by Pfc. Harold U. Ribalow, especially "You're in the Army Now" in Contemporary Jewish 
Record, vol. vi (1943) 566-70, and "How Soldiers Destroy Hate," in Congress Weekly, voL x 
(December 3, 1945) 8-10. A typical case cited is that of Dan Middleton of Providence, Rhode 
Island. "Gee," said Dan, "when I came into the army I thought that all Jews were home 
makhV the dough. ... But wherever I go I find Jewish soldiers. Hell, there are more Jews 
in this army than there are in Jerusalem." See also the interesting cabled dispatch by Anne 
O*Hare McCormkk on American soldiers in Tel Aviv, in the New York Times, January 
6, 1945. On statistical data regarding Jews in the U. S. Army see the pamphlet. Fighting for 
America, published by the National Jewish Welfare Board (New York 1944) . 

"For examples of such partnership in the French resistance movement see the reprint of 
the pamphlet issued by the United Underground movements in August 1942 reminding the 
French people of the crimes against the Jews in Free France, vol. ii. no. 12 (1942) 369; see 
also the reprint of "Our Brothers, the Jews" from the resistance paper, Combat, in the Con- 
temporary Jewish Record, voL vi (194S) 414-15. In Norway we have the instance of Otto 
Nansen, son of the famous Fritjof Nansen v leader of the Norwegian underground who was 
captured and placed in a concentration camp for aiding Jews. He was made to wear a huge 
yellow Star of David with the inscription "I am a Jewish slave." For examples of such joint 
partnership in Poland, see Karski, Jan, The Secret State (New York 1944). and more 
especially Mendelsohn, &. The Battle of the Warsaw Ghetto, issued by the Yiddish Scientific 
Institute (New York 1944) . 


an honest but naive Christian. The active leadership of men like Trotzky, 
Kamenev, Zinoviev, Radek, Joffe and Litvinov in the councils of the 
Soviet Union is a thing of the past. As a result of the various purges of 
Old Bolsheviks carried out by Stalin there is only one person of Jewish 
extraction of any prominence among the Soviet leaders, Lazar Kaganovich, 
and for the past several years he too has receded into the background. 
The scare of Jewish Bolshevism has not even a semblance of fact to feed 
on any longer. 


All the above-mentioned factors illuminate what may be called the 
positive side of the balance sheet of post-war antisemitism. They are all 
forces or tendencies, existing in varying strength in different parts of the 
world but present all over, that make for a more optimistic and brighter 
prognosis regarding the prospects of antisemitism in the post-war world. 
These factors have led some writers to predict the complete collapse of 
antisemitism after the war is over. Dr. James W. Parkes of England, 
noted student of the history of antisemitism, believes this to be probable, 
while a further example of such extreme optimism is afforded by the 
Anglo-Jewish journalist, William Zuckerman. "During the last decade 
of bloodshed and suffering," writes Zuckerman, "the world has learned 
that humanity is one and indivisible; that it is not possible to persecute, 
humiliate and exterminate one people without affecting all the others; 
and that by helping one, all are helped. The world is not likely to forget 
this great lesson so soon; it has paid too dearly for it. That is why anti- 
semitism as a movement is now more discredited than it has ever been 
in the last century, and that is why it will, in all probability, remain a 
dead issue after the war in spite of the huge Nazi propaganda." 13 

The picture is not all bright, however. We must not delude ourselves 
into a Utopian dream that the victorious end of the war and the triumph 
over Nazism has purged the world of the cardinal tenet of Nazi doctrine. 
There are circumstances and situations arising out of Nazi rule and out 
of the war that bear within them the seeds of new antisemitic problems. 

For over fifteen years the entire world and the continent of Europe 
have been fed on the poisonous propaganda of the Nazi antisemitic ma- 
chine. Since 1933 this machine has had the backing of a powerful state ap- 
paratus. Millions of dollars have been spent and millions of tons of Utera- 

M Zuckerman, W., "Auguries of a New Europe," in Contemporary Jewish Record, vol. vi 
(February 1943) 48. 


turehave been distributed in Europe, in the United States, in Latin Amer- 
ica and in South Africa for the sole purpose of fostering Jew-hatred. To 
the general ignorance regarding Jews already prevalent among non-Jews 
has now been added a mass of slander, lies, half-truths and distortions 
regarding Jews and Judaism that will not easily be eradicated. It is 
difficult for one who has not lived under a dictatorship to realize how 
almost utterly hopeless is the task of retaining a sense of critical judgment 
and healthy skepticism when fed daily with nothing but official propaganda 
and with the total absence of any information or factual material whereby 
to gauge and evaluate this propaganda in its true perspective. Generations 
of young people, not only in Germany, but in most countries of Europe, 
have grown up during their most impressionable years with distorted 
notions regarding Jews which will be extremely difficult if not impossible 
to correct. Defeated though they are in the war, there are many things 
which the Nazis will leave to the world as faits accomplis, which they 
may well chalk up as victories for themselves. And one of these, apart 
from the physical liquidation of Central and East-European Jewry, is the 
world-wide dissemination of the poisonous virus of antisemitism which 
will remain to plague the victorious United Nations for many years to 

We may look, too, to considerable friction growing out of the return 
of Jews to their former homes. Let us not consider Germany itself. The 
number of Jews remaining in Germany will be very small. But the return 
of Jews to liberated countries, even though under free and democratic 
governments, will not be achieved without sowing seeds of potential 
hostility. The problems of resettlement of Jews in their former homes 
and especially the restoration of their property are meeting with consider- 
able antagonism on the part of the native populations. Jews returning to 
France or to Belgium or to Czechoslovakia do not find their former 
homes vacant or their former economic positions unoccupied. On the 
contrary, these positions have been taken over by "Aryans" who are 
showing no inclination to give them up in favor of the returning Jews. In 
many cases, non-Jews who now own property formerly belonging to 
Jews acquired it through perfectly legal means. 13a Not infrequently, too, 
it has passed through several hands before coming into their possession, 
so that they are altogether unaware of the fact that it was confiscated from 
the Jtws. Such persons will be entirely unwilling to surrender what they 

** In tfee case of corporate business organizations, the Nazis were almost always scrupulously 
careful to distribute the shares of former Jewish owners to "Aryans" through perfectly legal 
business transactions. 


regard as rightfully theirs. Indications of the seriousness of this problem 
are already evident in liberated France, Rumania and Bulgaria, In 
France an association was formed of Frenchmen holding former Jewish 
property to protect themselves against the returning Jews. This is a 
gloomy foreboding of how serious the problem can become in countries 
where the antisemitic tradition has been more powerful than in France. 

Another source of potential danger to the Jews of Central and Eastern 
Europe is found in the changed attitude towards national minorities. 
Here the experiences with German minority groups during the past 
fifteen years has been crucial. For many years, German theorists of 
nationalism have developed a distinction between the Staatsnation or 
political nation, and the Kulturnation or cultural national group, A theory 
of protection of cultural rights of national minorities was erected upon 
this foundation, which served as the ideological basis for the system of 
minority protection established after World War I. Jewish nationalist 
leaders and thinkers were deeply influenced by these German theories, 
and Jews worked intimately during the post-war period with leaders of 
German minority groups in establishing the Congress of Minorities and 
in pleading the cause of minority protection before the League of Nations 
and before world opinion. Little did they realize that all these German 
cultural agencies, scattered throughout the world in strategic places, 
would be destined to become nerve centers of Nazi fifth column activities 
designed to undermine the structure of the states in which they resided." 
The disruptive influence of the Sudeten Germans between 1933 and 1939 
gave the world a particularly illuminating example of how a powerful 
mother state can use its national minorities in other states as instruments 
of its foreign policy, 15 Small wonder, therefore, that the leaders of the 
various govermnents-in-exile became wary of once again assuming the 
responsibilities and dangers of national minority rights. Instead, the 
tendency now seems to be toward the elimination of national minority 
problems by wholesale shifts and exchanges of population in order to 
attain national homogeneity in each of the reconstituted states. The 
precedents of the wholesale population shifts already carried out by Nazi 
Germany and the Soviet Union have given added weight to the argument 
for such a solution of the problems. 

"For a detailed account of this process see Bischoff, Ralph F,, Nazi Conquest Through 
German Culture (Cambridge 1942) , and a review of the same by the author in Jewish Social 
Studies, vol. vi (1944) 78-79. 

w "It remains a fact/' writes Dr. Hubert Ripka, Czechoslovak minister of state, "that the 
majority of tjie 'Sudeten 'Germans' inclined to Henleinism, that they readily accepted the rule 
of the Swastika and actively spread it in the German, Czech, Slovak and Carpathian regions 


Czechoslovakia, a state which adhered more closely to the spirit as 
well as the letter of the minorities provisions of the last peace, but the 
first state to suffer disruption at the hands of a disloyal minority, has also 
been the first to advocate population transfers as the solution to the 
minority problem. President Benes and other Czechoslovak leaders have 
come out for a forcible transfer of all German residents of Czechoslovakia 
to Germany and the forced de-Germanization of any that remain. In 
several articles and speeches Benes has given utterance to a view which 
is in sharp contrast to the principle of international protection of national 
minorities. 1 * His plan is directed, of course, primarily against the Ger- 
man minority, but it lends itself easily to more general application. In 
an interview with C. L. Sulzberger, correspondent of the New York 
Times, Benes set forth a four point program as the basis for the solution 
of postwar problems. Point 3 of this program calls for: "Wholesale 
exchanges of minorities populations to end permanently this trouble- 
some problem. After completion of such transfers, the remaining small 
minorities would be treated exactly the same as majority populations." 17 
"Central and Eastern European federations would then be created as 
'commonwealths of homogeneous states.' " Benes declared in this inter- 
view that the Versailles system of League protection of minorities was a 
definite failure. "I think that now," said Benes, "we should begin after 
this war by reestablishing independent nations and definitely settling 
questions of their frontiers and, after coming to a decision, completing 
it by affecting transfers of populations." In a memorandum submitted 
to the United Nations in December, 1944, the Czech government in 
London outlined its plan of forcibly transferring about two-thirds of the 
Sudeten Germans to their "spiritual homeland" and declared that "all 
Germans allowed to remain in Czechoslovakia after the war must decide 
to become culturally, as well as politically, citizens of the republic." 1S 
In place of national rights the Czech leaders will grant only individual 
human rights. "In the future," said Benes in his interview with Sulz- 
berger, "it should not be possible in Europe either to create by the use 

of our Republic." (Reprinted from Central European Observer in News Flashes from 
Czechoslovakia, February 15, 1943.) This view is also corroborated by Josef Lading, one of 
the leaders of the German Social Democratic Labor Party of Czechoslovakia. 

M See especially "The New Order in Europe" in The Nineteenth Century, vol. cxxx (1941) 
150-55, and "The Organization of Post War Europe" in Foreign Affairs, vol. xx (1942) 226-42; 
see also the reprint of his Chicago address of May 22, 1943 in United Nations Review, vol. iii 
(1943) 237. 

New York Times, February 18, 1943. 

**New York Herald Tribune, December 7, 1944. 


of minority treaties or minority laws a special state in another state and 
prepare a large fifth column for a period of crisis or war, as we have seen 
it happen in the present war. We must base national rights on human 
rights alone as you do in the United States." lfl 

The model set by Czechoslovak leaders is also being followed by 
Polish leaders. In a United Press dispatch from Lublin of January llth, 
1945, Henry Shapiro writes: "The new Poland now in process of forma- 
tion will be a self-consciously nationalistic nation, its population as purely 
Polish as possible and free of minority races which have given rise to 
vexing (problems) ever since the Versailles settlement." This is the 
opinion he finds prevalent among Polish leaders of all shades of opinion. 
All "appear determined to build their future in a state purged of trouble- 
some minorities." 20 In Rumania, the Soviet-sponsored new government 
declared, on November 19th, 1944, that Jews in Rumania will no longer 
be considered as a national minority but as Rumanians of the Jewish 
religion. "Jews are not a minority and not a nationality," declared the 
Rumanian minister of nationalities, "and they must be treated and con- 
sidered just like all other Rumanians." 

The tendency everywhere in Europe seems to be towards the creation 
of monolithic national states with an intensification of nationalism, born 
out of national resistance against the Germans. This in itself is a source 
of potential danger to Jews. Any kind of intensified nationalism is 
almost inevitably accompanied by an exdusivism which looks askance at 
groups who do not lend themselves to complete absorption into the 
national Leviathan. Jews are the first to suffer from such intensified 

This tendency towards a monolithic nationalism coupled with a de- 
cided hostility to minority groups represents to my mind one of the most 
serious problems for the collective Jewry of Central and Eastern Europe 
in the post-war world. For what makes the problem more difficult far 
the Jew, however, is that Jews are everywhere a minority. No matter 
what transfers of population take place, the Jewish group will always 
remain a minority group. And in all the claims and counter-claims re- 
garding disputed territories in Eastern Europe territories which before 

9 On this general question see Vishniak, Mark, Dos transferirn bafelkermgen, published 
by the Yiddish Scientific Institute (New York 1942), with the important exchange of letters 
on the problem between Dr. Max Weinrcich and Jan Masaryfc, Czech Foreign Minister. See 
also Were foe Minorities Treaties a Failure? by the Institute of Jewish Affairs (New York 

"New York Herald Tribune, January 17, 1945- 


the war contained large concentrations of Jewish inhabitantsthere is no 
mention of Jews as a minority group. Each side counts them as its own, 
without assuming any responsibility towards the Jewish group. 

There ate, however, two significant examples of an alternative to 
this tendency; these are the experiments with multi-national states repre- 
sented by the constitutions of the Soviet Union and of the United States. 
The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics is constituted as a federation of 
many nationalities without the dominance of any single one of them. 
It is true that in the past twelve to fifteen years there has been an increas- 
ingly growing tendency towards Great Russian nationalism, but thus far 
it has not affected in any material way the nationalities policy dominant 
in the Soviet Union during its entire history. There is no country in 
the world more free from the taint of official racialism or official ami- 
semitism than the Soviet Union. No government has done more to 
combat antisemitism than the Soviet Union; indeed, it may be suggested 
that it is this aspect of Soviet policy that has most attracted those elements 
of our Jewish youth who are lured by the promise of Soviet communism. 

If the elimination of antisemitism is considered apart from the ques- 
tion of the continued existence of the Jewish people, the Soviet Union 
may well be on the road to the wiping out of this disease. But those of 
us who are committed to a positive philosophy of Jewish life cannot feel 
satisfied with the elimination of antisemitism if that also means the 
elimination of Judaism, and that is the grave danger in Soviet Jewry. 
The combatting of antisemitism has been accompanied by a terrific pace 
of assimilation of the Jews. There are many erroneous notions regarding 
the position of Jews in the Soviet Union, and they are widespread even 
among serious students of Jewish affairs. We should bear certain funda- 
mental facts in mind. In the first place, the general nationalities policy 
of the Soviet Union is based on the principle: "national in form but 
socialist in content." That means that whereas the linguistic rights of 
nationalities are protected and fostered, each cultural group is subjected 
to the same communist dictatorship. You may extol the virtues of com- 
munism or of Josef Stalin in any of the languages of the national groups 
of the Soviet Union, but the content is the same in all cases. For Jews, 
whose cultural vitality depends so much on drawing deeply on the histori- 
cal past of the Jewish people and on close and intimate contacts with 
other centers of Jewish life, the isolationism of Soviet Jewry, the hostility 
to Hebrew, to Zionism, to religion, and to older Jewish traditions in gen- 
eral have made for the general atrophy of Jewish cultural life in the Soviet 


Union, after a short period of flowering. Moreover, the theory under- 
lying the Soviet nationalities policy is not one that favors the continued 
existence of the Jewish people as a separate cultural group. The prin- 
ciple of the autonomy of peoples in the U.S.S.R. is based on territory 
and not on personal or individual status. 21 The Jews are not a territorial 
minority group; hence we do not find the same positive aid to Jewish 
autonomous cultural life as is given to the territorial nationalities. After 
a period of great activity in the field of Yiddish cultural life, we have 
witnessed an enormous decline of Jewish cultural agencies and institu- 
tions during the past ten years. Despite the great increase in Yiddish- 
speaking Jews who have come into the Soviet Union as refugees from 
Poland, all the old Yiddish newspapers have been discontinued and re- 
placed by a meagre four-page sheet, Einikeit. An examination of the 
files of this sheet will bear witness to the poverty of Jewish cultural life 
in the Soviet Union and to its disintegrating character. It hardly ever 
carries news of Jewish interest either from within the Soviet Union or 
from other countries. Despite the physical and juridical protection of 
individuals of Jewish extraction in the Soviet Union and notwithstand- 
ing the propagandist^ utterances of "fellow travellers" in this country, 
the prospects for the free development of Jewish cultural life in the 
Soviet Union are anything but bright. The annexation of new areas with 
large groups of Polish* t-itTitiatiian and Rumanian Jews will make this 
problem even more serious and of larger dimensions. 

The prospects for the free development of Jewish groups are much 
brighter and the environment more favorable in the United States. While 
we must obviously not close our eyes to the various antisemitic move- 
ments in thi* country and while it is true that there are certain tendencies 
in American life that point to a possible development of a strong romantic 
nationalism, the prevailing and dominant character of American national- 
ism is still liberal and hiirnflmfarian- 82 The wide acclaim and popularity 
of Russel Davenport's magnificent poem, My Country, bears witness to 

"Dr. TTatiTiaii Axendt, otherwise a very acute and brilliant writer on Jewish and general 
world affaire, reveals the Tnfimiidmitanding of the Soviet Union's nttionaTffif* policy which 
I mentioned above on this point. In an essay, "Concerning Minorities," in the Contemporary 
Jewish Record, vol. vii (1944) S5348* Dr. Arendt identifies Soviet policy with the theories 
of Otto Bauer and Karl Homer on "personal status." The fact is, however, that both Lenin 
and Stalin violently attacked the Aiistro-Mandsts on this very issue and for the same reason 
were bitterly hostile to the Jewish Bund. The Soviet policy is based not on "personal status" 
but on territory, and for Jews this is a tremendous difference. 

For an analysis of this 'special character of American nationalism see the excellent 
chapter, Towards a New World" in Bans Kohn's The Idea of Nationalism (New York 1944) 
p. 263-985. 


the strength of this character of American nationalism, despite strident 
and dissonant voices from the other camp. 28 

Moreover, group differences can be freely developed only in a free 
and democratic society. As Professor R. M. Maclver has well pointed 
out, multiplicity of groups and democracy are interrelated both in phil- 
osophical theory and in historical development. "The totalitarian way," 
says Maclver, "denies men the right to be different, suppresses all groups 
that do not conform to a single authoritarian gospel. The . . . demo- 
cratic way ... not only admits the right of non-conformity but builds up 
its political order and its social unity on the free play of differences." 
"The emagbnce and differentiation of groups created the challenge to 
which democracy was the answer." * Democracy and multigroup society 
have grown together; each is a function of the other; the future belongs 
to them both. 

But even in the United States there is grave danger of antisemitic 
reaction if things do not go well in the post-war period. All the factors 
mentioned above as identifying Nazi antisemitism with the enemy of our 
own national security are potentially capable of serious back-fire if 
our hopes and expectations for the post-war world are not appreciably 
realized Then it will once again become a "Jewish War," and all the 
ills that will beset us will be attributed to the Jews and to the Jewish 
"causes" of the war. The possibility that such trends may develop, with 
all the accompanying and resulting manifestations, is one that must always 
be kept in mind by thoughtful observers. Only the naive Utopian will 
close his eyes to it 

*"A& tongues and races are American Italians, Slavs, and Jews, the 'dese and dose' 

AH nations are embodied in her job Who came with song and fiddle and guitar;* 

To breed the noble concept of a man And those of Spain and Crete and Singapore 

Whose freedom is, that others should be free In pants of blue and shawls of cinnabar; 

Yellow or Mack or red or white or tan And those of Ayr and Cork; and those who bore 

This was the burden of the prophecy, In them the scars of Pinsk and Bucharest, 

When the wharves of Boston, and the whips, The dusty orts of kaiser, king, and czar, 

There rose the blessed words of liberty Which still she gathered to her mighty breast: 

Upon the rebel pens and patriot lips: Whereon the light of liberty sufficed 

And she was ever generous to those To make this hidden splendor manifest . 

Who saw her first as promise from the ships, And every jewel among them equal-priced 

The empty-handed and condemned, who chose By her own law, as in the Words of Christ" 
To risk the towering glamor of her shore; (My Country, p. 34.) 

"Madver, R. U n Towards cm Abiding Peect (New York 1944) p. I10-1L 



Antisemitism, just as any other social movement, cannot be reduced 
to one common denominator to account for the various forms which it 
has assumed throughout the ages. It has been governed by a number 
of factors and motives that have changed in various times in accordance 
with prevailing conditions. It is possible nevertheless to distinguish a 
number of fundamental characteristics of social life which form the basis 
for this movement. 

Group tensions and specific conflicts between social groups are often 
dependent on slight differences that are the product of chance or his- 
torical development. Such conflicts are to be found not only between 
various nations and races but even between different groups within the 
same nation, as for example the antipathy which existed between the 
various divisions of the German Reich before the second World War. 
In Poland, prior to its fourth partition, there were tensions between the 
inhabitants of the former Russian territory and those of Galicia and the 
district of Posen. Among the Jews there exists a feeling of mutual scorn 
between the "Litvaks" and the Polish Jews, between both of these groups 
and the GaHcian Jews and between all of them and the German Jews. 
Such a feeling sometimes assumes more concrete form, particularly in 
the case of conflicting interests between groups. This, too, applies not 
only to two different peoples or ethnic groups but to divisions within 
one people as well. In every immigrant country there are conflicts between 
the newer and the older immigrant groups. Since each new group in a 
new land'brings with it new ways and innovations whether set customs 
and forms of life developed in the country of its origin or the desire for 
a new order which is aroused because of die difficulty of adjustment and 
acclimation the "natural" opposition to such a group also acquires a 
sociological and sometimes an economic coloring. The older groups 
become intent on safeguarding their positions in 'the community and 
the newcomers must take up the challehge and become a "revolutionary" 

When such a conflict arises between a majority and a minority group, 



the points of opposition make for oppression on the part of one group 
and defensive action on the part of the other. The two processes are 
sometimes accompanied by the use of a specific phraseology which covers 
up the real issues involved and at other times the issues themselves are 
not kept in view. The tension extends then to a far wider sector of the 
society than is directly affected by the dash of interests or by the economic 

When a new ethnic or religious group immigrates into an already 
settled land it usually finds it very difficult to penetrate into the established 
economic and social positions. It is therefore obliged to seek sources of 
income which are as yet untapped. The majority will tolerate the 
minority and allow it to encroach upon its positions only if the new- 
comexs satisfy certain economic needs which do not seriously compete with 
the activities of the majority. For this reason such groups of newcomers 
engage, at least for some time, only in a limited number of pursuits, 
without entering into all of the economic activities of the new country. 
In the modem period we find this illustrated in the case of the Huguenots 
who came from France to Germany in the seventeenth century and in 
die case of the Anabaptists who came from Switzerland to Moravia in 
the sixteenth century. The French refugees, who settled in about 240 
German towns, engaged in business and in branches of industry which 
were as yet unknown in Germany, such as weaving, soap and glass-making, 
watchmaking, tobacco growing, etc. The Anabaptists in Moravia became 
farmers only in isolated cases and the majority engaged in trades which 
were unknown in Moravia, such as the manufacture of various articles 
of luxury. 

As long as these "strangers" do not compete with the established 
people they are allowed to live in peace. As soon as their pursuits begin 
to compete with those of the local people, however, or when their skills 
are also acquired by others, the struggle against the "strangers" begins. 
The tension then "spreads" from the economic issues to other points. 
A few decades after the settlement of the Anabaptists in Moravia the 
local inhabitants began to raise the cry that they were depriving them 
of their means of support, at the same time blaming them for their dis- 
sension in religious matters. Such complaints were heard time and again 
during the latter years of the sixteenth century and they led to legal 
restrictions by the authorities. The growth of this struggle in the next 


few years finally brought about the expulsion of 1622. In the same 
fashion a struggle was conducted by the city dwellers in Germany some- 
times against the Huguenots and sometimes against both Huguenots and 
Jews. Likewise many Hollanders who had settled during the sixteenth 
century in Frankfurt-am-Main were later forced to leave the city and to 
settle elsewhere. Similar incidents are to be observed in the case of the 
Armenians who settled in Poland, as well as in the case of the Jews. 

There is no need here to enter into the controversy as to when the 
Jewish people became predominantly engaged in commerce. Suffice it to 
say that in the light of modern scholarship we can accept it as a fact that 
the occupational distribution of Jews was hardly ever similar to that of 
the peoples among whom they lived. There were always some trades, 
even "productive" ones, which were considered specifically "Jewish" and 
others in which the Jews had little or no part As long as the occupations 
in which the Jews were engaged were considered unimportant or did 
not attract members of the majority group the Jews were allowed to live 
peacefully. When competition arose or when the majority found it neces- 
sary to widen its economic basis and could not do so by expansion outside 
the country, the attempt was made to realize this purpose by action against 
the Jewish minority. In some instances strained relations were the result 
of economic conditions within the Jewish group. For whenever the 
pursuits of members of a minority group are not lucrative, or when the 
group increases in size, or the status of its trades is lowered because of 
changed economic conditions, the members of this group leave their 
positions and make an attempt to find places in new occupations. This 
process meets with the opposition of the members of the majority group, 
and economic and social conflicts ensue. Only when the economic oppor- 
tunities of a country are broadened and new opportunities are opened 
up for employment is it possible for a minority to enter into new fields. 
This process, too, is usually not effected without a struggle which readies 
.beyond the economic field. 

In this manner the points of contrast between the Jews and their 
neighbors come to stand out, either by the attempt to leave established 
positions and enter new ones or by the desire to limit the 'living space" 
of the Jews and to render their existence difficult. With an abundance 
of opportunities, opposition and tension diminish; on the other hand it 
increases greatly when such opportunities begin to decrease. 


The economic policies and theories predominant in Europe during 
the dose of the eighteenth and the beginning of the nineteenth centuries 
revolved chiefly around increased production and the development of 
productive resources. The trend was definitely toward increasing the 
number of worker-producers. This was done through such methods as 
the mercantilist colonial policy or by the improvement of the status of the 
producers or of the forms of production. Increased production called 
for an expansion of market facilities. Such expansion, however, did not 
keep pace with the growth of production. A large part of the population 
of Europe continued to be engaged in agriculture and not very much 
influenced by tfM new industrial capitalism. Peasant emancipation in 
Central Europe, moreover, brought about a decrease in the purchasing 
power of the peasants due to impoverishment. Mechanical improvements 
also brought about the displacement of numerous workers. At the same 
time the countries of Eastern Europe which had served as a market for 
manufactured goods from Central Europe began to develop their own 
name industries. These factors brought about repeated economic dis- 

After the upswing that continued with few interruptions from the 
time of the French Revolution until after the Napoleonic wars there 
began, with the cessation of the continental blockade and the flooding of 
Europe with English goods, a whole series of crises which lasted until 
1848. In 1815 a crisis developed in England because of the expansion 
of the textile industry and a decrease in demand on the continent During 
the "twenties a severe agrarian crisis hit Central Europe and caused a drop 
in the prices of agricultural products of 40-50 percent. During the 
'thirties a financial depression again set in. The disproportion between 
supply and demand brought in its wake autarkic tendencies and an 
increase in production in the countries which until this Hm^ were chiefly 
agrarian. The unemployment caused by this development was somewhat 
mitigated later by the emigration of workers to oversea countries. 

Overseas emigration was greatly increased after the Napoleonic wars. 
In 1818-19 emigration from Europe to America had reached such bounds 
that the heavily laden boats leaving Europe were afflicted with plagues 
and a law was passed on March 2, 1819, which limited the number of 
passengers in each boat and obliged them to stock up with sufficient pro- 
visions* During each of the years between 1801-20 the average number 


of emigrants sailing from Europe was ,08 per thousand inhabitants; 
during the years 1821-30, .40; and during the years 1841-50, .96. From 
Germany alone more than 70,000 emigrated to North America between 
1818 and 1830, and more than 150,000 during 1830-1840. 

New markets for surplus manufactured goods were found in the 
colonies of the European nations as well as in the backward countries 
which came under their sway. At the end of the 1840's a new wave of 
prosperity commenced which, except for a few crises, continued un- 
broken until 1873. This prosperity was aided in no small degree by the 
increased gold production resulting from the discoveries of gold mines 
in California and Australia, by the technological advances in production 
and by the development of steam engines and the building of railroads* 
The position of the farmers in Europe was also improved and autarkic 
tendencies gave way more and more to economic liberalism. 

The Jews entered the modern period devoid of civil rights and 
restricted in their economic activities to positions as middlemen and 
moneylenders. In Poland they were also engaged in handicraft, in the 
sale of liquor and to a limited extent in trade. Towards the close of the 
seventeenth century the Jews began to find it more and more difficult 
to maintain themselves in these occupations and they began to seek 
openings in other fields, particularly in trading. Trade had not been 
explicitly prohibited for Jews and moreover Jewish moneylenders had 
been permitted to sell unredeemed pawns, which permission could 
be used as a means of engaging in trade in other used commodities. 
During the Thirty Years' War another break in the urban anti-Jewish 
front occurred when Jews were permitted to come to the markets and 
fairs in the towns from which they had been ejected and carry on trading 
activities during the limited periods. Out of such provisional grants 
came first the right to remain for some time after the fair "in order to 
arrange their business matters" and ultimately permanent Jewish settle- 
ments in such places as Leipzig, Breslau, etc. 

In Poland the penetration of Jews into commerce and handicrafts 
was aided by the special position of the towns and cities. As a result of 
the changes in world economic conditions, the shift of the chief routes of 
world trade from the East to the West, the dislocation brought about 
by wars and uprisings and the antagonism between the feudal nobility 
and the townsmen, the position of the burghers became so bad that^they 
began to leave the towns and their places were taken by Jews. In both 

22 E S S A Y S O N A N T I S M I T I S M 

Poland and Western Europe the devastation wrought in the cities, the 
extermination of many of the inhabitants through wars and plagues all 
contributed to loosen the hold and efficacy of the old anti-Jewish 

Apart from these factors there were other forces operating to help 
the Jews enter into trade. There was the need for rehabilitating the 
localities ruined by wars while at the same time there was no mechanism 
for the distribution of goods to meet the conditions following the wars. 
On the other hand there was the sharp opposition between the feudal 
nobility and the urban bourgeoisie and the desire of the ruling classes 
to lessen the power of the town merchants. Moreover there grew among 
the kings and rulers the desire to develop their lands and increase their 
revenues. All these factors led rulers and princes to welcome the Jews 
to their courts and to their realms. Moreover, in places laid waste by 
wars and fires, and in towns abandoned by their inhabitants where the 
roads were deserted or unusable, there was no place for the regular type 
of city merchant of that time, who waits for customers to come to his 
store to buy his wares at fixed prices or for farmers to come into town 
and sell him their produce also at fixed prices. The Jew, living in the 
village or else travelling from village to village, was in a better position 
to buy up the products from the peasants and to sell to them in turn 
the goods which they needed. In this the Jews were aided by the fact 
that the inhabitants of the villages nobles as well as peasants were dis- 
satisfied with the monopolistic hold which the town merchants exercised 
and they were anxious to break their political and economic power. 

In this manner the Jews were able to occupy positions in trade in 
Poland also in handicraft and gradually they were able to pursue these 
activities publicly. At first they were forbidden to open shops and they 
had to deliver the wares to the homes of the purchasers. In competing 
with the non- Jewish traders or artisans the Jews were forced to resort to 
such practises as lowering prices, extending credit and barter. The non- 
Jewish merchants and artisans relied on their privileges and on the regula- 
tions of the towns and were unwilling or unable to deviate from their 
established business practises and regulations. The townsmen sought to 
protect themselves against the infiltration of Jews into urban occupations 
by their own town enactments and by demanding of the rulers to dose 
the city gates to the Jews. At times too they attacked them physically. 
Two tendencies are evident in the attitude of the non- Jews toward the 


Jews: on the one hand they sought to prevent them from entering into 
the city occupations and, on the other, they desired to turn the Jews 
into "productive" workers. 

During the period of mercantilism only those few Jews were treated 
favorably who were able to contribute to the increase in exports or to 
the building of factories. All the other Jews, who were likely to be a 
source of competition to the non-Jews, were regarded as unproductive. 
Attempts were made to reduce their numbers either by expulsion or by 
prohibiting them from settling in the cities. Such was the prevalent atti- 
tude in Germany. In Russia a "pale of settlement" was set up, after the 
partition of Poland, the purpose of which was to protect the tradesmen 
of Moscow and the cities of the interior from the competition of the 
Jews. On the other hand, the Physiocrats and the promoters of indus- 
trialization desired to turn the Jews into farmers and factory workers 
to make them "productive" and thereby to free the townsmen from 
the competition of the Jews. 

The French Revolution ushered in an era in which the old regulations 
came to be discarded and the ideals of freedom and economic opportunity 
were diffused throughout Europe. Many restrictions on Jewish activities 
were discarded and the Jews were able to occupy important economic 
positions in the cities. This was followed, however, by the period of re- 
action, with ensuing economic dislocation of agriculture and of the small 
towns dependent on the surrounding agrarian population. In Germany 
most of the towns were dependent on the surrounding country for trade. 
At the beginning of the nineteenth century there were only two large 
cities in Germany, Berlin and Hamburg, with a population of over 
100,000, and these, too, did not remain immune from the crisis. In 
Poland conditions were not much different. Thus, as is usual in times 
of crises, autarkic tendencies began to develop together with opposition 
to strangers and foreign goods, and hostility to "aliens" residing within 
the country. 

In Germany, antisemitism became an integral part of the Romantic 
movement with its emphasis on the "German spirit" and national unity. 
With this came an idealization of the past and a glorification of the 
Middle Ages with their feudal political and social institutions. It was 
against such a background that the concept of the Christian state de- 
veloped, which tended to bar the way to all those who were not members 
of the Christian faith, chiefly the Jews, and to restore them to the status 


they occupied in the Middle Ages. The non-Jewish middle class saw in 
this movement a means of combating its Jewish competitors and of re- 
establishing its monopolistic control of urban life. In Poland, too, restric- 
tive measures against the Jews were passed and plans were even broached 
for their expulsion and concentration in one place (somewhat akin to 
Hitler's "reservation" plan) . 

After a few decades, however, the European powers were successful 
in acquiring markets for their goods outside their borders, and the 
surplus populations began to be absorbed by countries overseas. This 
made also for the expansion of the domestic market. Industrial capitalism 
was able to overcome all obstacles and increase the volume of business, 
so that there was no longer any place for the regulation of urban indus- 
tries or for jealousy of the Jews and fear of then competition. The 
tendency toward free trade in foreign markets was accompanied by a 
trend towards economic liberalism in the domestic market as well. 


During the nineteenth century the industrial revolution spread from 
England to the countries on the European continent and then to America. 
This development resulted in a changed attitude toward production and 
distribution. While in the earlier period the chief emphasis had been 
placed on the factor of production, now more and more attention had 
to be given to the problem of distribution. This does not mean of course 
that production declined. On the contrary, the removal of restrictions 
on industry and trade and increased technological improvements served 
to intensify productivity in both industry and agriculture. But increased 
specialization, division of labor, the increase in the number of workers 
producing only one product or part of a product, the change from pro- 
duction for consumption to production for profits, all these factors 
brought with them increased needs for the expansion of facilities for 
distribution. The vast industrial enterprises which were organized re- 
quired new agencies for the marketing and distribution of their products. 
The development of commerce called into being a large new class of 
employes such as bank officials, supervisors, white collar workers, trans- 
portation workers and the like. The number and importance of transient 
city workers increased greatly. With this development came an increase 
in the national income of the various European countries. Thus the 
national income of England increased from 92^ million pounds in 1800 



to 1,700 millions in 1900; that of Fiance increased from 4,655 million 
francs in 1790 to 25,000 millions in 1890; that of Germany increased 
from 15 billion marks in 1885 to 25 billions in 1895. The increase in 
national income of the countries in Western Europe during this period 
came not from agriculture but from this expansion of trade, industry 
and banking. The classes affected most by the rise in income, therefore, 
were not those engaged in agriculture but rather those in the urban occu- 
pations of commerce and industry. This fact was one of the chief reasons 
for the great shift in population from the villages to the towns and cities. 
In this respect, too, England exceeded the other countries, while France 
was backward and in Germany rapid transitions ensued. 
Out of every hundred people there lived in the cities: 









England ~ 















France _ 
















At the beginning of the nineteenth century Germany had only two large 
cities; in 1871 it had eight, in 1900 thirty-three and in 1933 fifty-one. 
In Eastern Europe, where industrialization came later, the movement 
from country to city also came later. The process of urbanization was 
hastened during the twentieth century, particularly during the two 
decades following the first World War. In Poland 80 percent of the 
population was rural until the close of the nineteenth century; in 1921 it 
was 75 percent and in 1931, 73 percent. 1 

These two factors, the migration from village to city and the in- 
creased importance of urban occupations in the national economy, 

1 These data are derived from the official publications of the Russian census of 1897, the 
Polish censuses of 1921 and 1931, the Rocznik Statystyczny, and the censuses taken in 
Germany. Sources of some specific facts and figures are: Segall, J., Die berufliche und soziale 
Verhaltnisse der Juden in Deutschland (Berlin 1912); Silbergleit, H., Die Bevdlkerung und 
Berufsverhaltnisse der Juden im deutschen Reich. Freistaat Preussen (Berlin 1930) ; Die 
Glaubensjuden im deutschen Reich. Berufs-und Betriebszdhlung vom 16. June 1935, Statisttk 
des Deutschen Retches Band 451, 5 (Berlin 1936) ; Weinryb, B., Der Kampf urn die Berufsum- 
schichtung. Ein Ausschnitt aus der Geschichte der Juden in Deutschland , (Berlin 1936); 
Weinryb, B., Neueste Wirtschaftsgeschichte der Juden in Russland und Polen (Breslau 1934) . 



deiinitely determined the position of the Jews in nineteenth and early 
twentieth-century Europe and shaped the character of the entire Jewish 
problem in Europe. The Jews, by virtue of the economic positions and 
experience which they had gained, were able to be easily absorbed into 
the new urban economy. No longer did the non-Jewish townsmen shut 
the town gates in the face of the Jews in fear of their competition. 
Economic opportunity increased as did the demands for personnel in 
the new functions and enterprises. The Jews, as a group not firmly 
rooted in the soil, were the first to participate in the population shifts 
within the nations, as well as in overseas emigration. Jews are found 
among the first immigrants into America from Central and Eastern 
Europe. In some instances they were the very first to emigrate. The 
proportion of Jewish emigrants came to exceed their proportion of the 
general population. Thus, for example, the Jews constituted 40.7 percent 
of the emigrants from Russia during the years 1889-1914. Whereas the 
percentage of Jews in independent Poland was only about 10 percent 
they constituted about 30 percent of the emigrants during the years 1925- 
1939. In Rumania the Jews constituted between 4 and 5 percent of the 
total population, yet their numbers among the emigrants during the 
period 1926-33 reached 25 percent 

The same trend was observable in the shift of population within a 
country from rural to urban centers. Jews streamed from the villages 
and small towns to the larger cities. This process was most clearly re- 
vealed in the population shifts in Germany, after the rapid advance of 
industrialization and the lifting of legal restrictions upon Jewish settle- 
ment in the cities. The following table indicates the growth of the 
Jewish population in some of the important cities in Central Europe. 












172 672 



















6 171 


f 6 **-"'-" - 








Vienna . 




146 926 

201 513* 

1) 1883 

2) 1814 

3) 1808 

4) 1852 

5) 1830 

6) 19B 



The rate of urbanization among Jews, moreover, was much more rapid 
than among the non-Jews. In 1900 the larger cities of Germany con- 
tained 48.45 percent of the German Jews and 16.2 percent of the non- 
Jews; in 1925 the percentages were 66.8 for Jews and 26.8 for non-Jews; 
in 1933 they were 70.9 for Jews and 30.2 for non-Jews. 

The social and economic structure of the Jewish community in Ger- 
many came to resemble more and more that of the general urban popula- 
tion. We can take the Jews of Prussia as an illustration of this point. In 
1925 three-fourths of all the Jews of Prussia lived in 32 cities with a pop- 
ulation of 100,000 or over. It is therefore permissible to consider the 
Jewish population of Prussia as predominantly urban and compare its 
make-up with that of the non-Jewish population in these cities. 


Prussian Jews 
in percent 

in 32 cities 
in percent 

n \ Trade credit, transportation 



(2) Industry, handicraft, domestic 



( 3 ) .Agriculture 



(4) Professions, public and private 



From the above table it will be seen that as far as the third and fourth 
groups are concerned there was practically no difference between the 
Jews and non-Jews. In the first and second groups, however, there was 
a great difference between the Jewish and non-Jewish population. We 
are presented with an interesting phenomenon, In the first group the 
relative number of Jews represented is almost double that of the non- 
Jews while the reverse of this is true in the second group. We can 
discover the reasons for this difference if we examine the composition of 
these occupational groups in greater detail and if we look into the sources 
of the urban population. The city population was derived largely from 
small villages and towns. The Jews who migrated to the cities had been 
engaged chiefly in trade, moneylending and related fields. Only a small 
number of them had been engaged in handicraft. When they came to 
the cities they continued, for the most part, in the same vocations. On 
the other hand the non-Jews who came to the cities were mostly farmers 
or the sons of fanners and it was they who became the industrial workers. 


The same process is to be observed in the other countries of Central 
and Eastern Europe, except for the fact that there industrialization and 
urbanization came later and at a slower pace. At the beginning of the 
nineteenth century about one-third of the Jewish population in Poland 
and the Ukraine lived in rural areas. In 1897, 13.5 percent of the Jews 
in Poland lived in rural districts and in 1921, 7.3 percent; in the Ukraine 
it was 8.6 percent. The percentage of Jews in the small towns also de- 
clined: in 1897 the Jewish population in towns of 10,000 inhabitants or 
less in Poland amounted to 44.5 percent and in 1921 it fell to 38 percent. 
At the same time the percentage of Jews residing in the cities rose from 
19.8 percent in 1897 to 26.9 percent in 192L Similar developments 
took place in Hungary. The Jews in Budapest, far example, increased 
from 44,890 in 1869 to 104,290 in 1890, to 203,687 in 1910 and to 215,512 
in 1920. 

The migration to the cities was accompanied by an economic up 
swing. The growth and development of city trades made it possible 
for the Jews to become absorbed in the economy of the country and to 
occupy important positions. Those few who had been previously engaged 
in business were able to establish larger firms and their places in turn 
were occupied by others lower in rank. At the beginning of the nine- 
teenth century the Jews of Germany were engaged in relatively unim- 
portant economic activities. Between 80 and 90 percent were small store- 
keepers, peddlers and the like. Towards the middle of the century their 
economic importance began to increase. With the removal of legal and 
social barriers they began to leave the occupations of peddling and 
petty trading; positions in the economic ladder which are occupied by 
those who are not as yet absorbed in trade. The change in their eco- 
nomic importance can be seen from the fact that whereas in 1861, 11.27 
out of every hundred Jews in Prussia engaged in trade were peddlers, 
the percentage in 1925 was only 1.61. Even this small percentage con- 
sisted chiefly of immigrants from Eastern European countries, who had 
not as yet been absorbed into the Economy of the country. In 1933, 
47.1 percent of all the Jewish peddlers in Germany were from other 
lands. In Poland, Lithuania and other backward countries, the Jews 
occupied both the highest and the lowest rungs in the economic scale of 
city occupations. 

The Jews, however, were not the only ones who underwent the 
process of urbanization. They can perhaps be viewed as pioneers of this 


trend, but together with them there streamed into the cities large groups 
of non-Jews. In the Germany of 1871 about one- third of the population 
resided in cities and towns and two-thirds in the villages. By 1933 the 
ratio was reversed: two-thirds of the population resided in the cities and 
one-third in villages. Also in Poland and other East-European countries 
we see a stream moving from the country into the cities and towns. This 
trend led to the decrease of the ratio of Jews to non-Jews in nearly all 
Polish cities during the post-war period. Thus the percentage of the 
Jews in Warsaw decreased from 33.9 percent in 1897 to 30.1 percent in 
1931 and from 34.5 percent and 35 percent in Lodz and Lwow, respec- 
tively, in 1921 to 33.5 percent and 31.9 percent, respectively, in 1931. 
Much larger was the decrease in the percentage of the Jews and the in- 
crease of the non-Jews in the smaller Polish towns reaching at times 40-50 

The elements, who came from the country, turned at first to work in 
the factories, domestic service and lower forms of business. Gradually, 
however, tkey attempted to enter into more important positions. In 
Central Europe they occupied the places that were left open by Jews 
who reached higher economic levels. In pre-Hitler Germany the majority 
of small businesses, such as storekeeping, the sale of milk and vegetables 
and peddling, were in the hands of non-Jews. The percentage of peddlers 
was also greater among the non-Jews who engaged in trade than among 
the Jews. In 1852 there were to be found among every 100 peddlers in 
Prussia 77.5 non-Jews and 22.5 Jews. In 1895 there were 91.24 non-Jews 
and 8.76 Jews and in 1925 there were 95.35 non-Jews and 4.65 Jews. In 
absolute figures the number of Jewish peddlers diminished from 2,165 
in 1895 to 1,796 in 1925, while the general number of peddlers in Prussia 
rose from 24,679 to 38,722. In other more important branches of trade 
the relative number of Jews also diminished because of the increased 
number of non-Jews engaging in them. But here, too, the main decrease 
was to be seen in the lower levels of the occupations. In 1925 there were 
3.84 percent Jews among those engaged in banking and credit in Prussia, 
and 17.95 percent among the owners and directors of banks; in Berlin the 
percentage of the Jews engaged in banking and credit was 6.23 and of 
those heading and directing banks 32.68. In general commerce the 
percentage of Jews was 6.28, but the percentage of owners was 10.74 and 
of directors 12.58. The status of the non-Jews who entered the city occu- 
pations greatly resembled that of the Jews of two and three decades pre- 


viously. After succeeding in entering the lower levels they endeavored, 
as had the Jews before them, to rise higher and higher. 

In their struggle to reach the higher economic positions the newer 
non-Jewish elements came into conHict with the Jews, who were already 
occupying these positions. This non-Jewish middle class came to view 
the Jews as their chief enemies who had grabbed the positions which 
they themselves coveted. In this respect there was no difference to be seen 
between independent manufacturers, tradesmen and bankers and between 
employes in industry and banking and academic workers or those en- 
gaged in any other urban occupation. Everywhere the newcomers found 
that the Jews had preceded them. In the Eastern European countries 
the field of petty trading became the area of conflict between the non- 
Jews and the Jews since these lower positions were still occupied by the 
Jews. In years of prosperity this conflict was not in evidence but in years 
of crisis, when the possibilities for economic gain were limited, the 
struggle for these positions assumed a sharp form. 

During the 'seventies of the last century, after the unification of 
Germany, the period of economic liberalism came practically to an end. 
Various countries adopted a protective tariff against foreign goods and 
attempted to clear their markets of foreign products. There also began 
a struggle against "foreigners" within the countries. A strong antisemitic 
movement developed at this time in practically all the European countries 
and especially in Germany. In Poland and Lithuania many members 
of the nobility as well as their employes entered city occupations after 
they had lost their property and positions in the uprising of 1863. They 
opened shops or became employes in stores. At the same time the im- 
poverishment of the peasants, which was brought on by the conditions 
of their emancipation and their heavy debt burden as well as by the 
agricultural depression and the fall in prices of their products during 
the last quarter of the nineteenth century, drew many of them to the 
cities where they became competitors of the Jews in industry and petty 

During this period there developed in Germany the race theories, 
which came to occupy the place of the "Christianity" of Romanticism. 
Instead of the exclusiveness of the "Christian state," advocated by the 
Romanticists, there developed the theory of exclusiveness of the racial 
state. The former had created an ideological basis for the prevention 
of Jews from entering into the various economic positions, the latter 


aimed to deprive them of the positions which they were able to occupy 
in the interim. At the same time the idea of the corporate state was 
revived with its ideals of a regulated and ordered society in which, of 
course, there would be no room for the Jewish minority. In Poland, the 
Polish nationalists, after the 1863 uprising, sought to strengthen their 
economic positions in order to further their political aspirations and 
they viewed the Jews increasingly as "aliens" and as agents of 

The height of this economic conflict was reached in the years after 
the conclusion of the first World War. The stream of migration from 
country to city was intensified and the lower fields of urban occupations 
were now filled with second and third-generation descendants of peasants 
and farmers. During the years of economic prosperity which followed 
the period of inflation in Germany the conflict between Jew and non- 
Jew was softened, but with the advent of economic decline it again came 
to the fore. Many of the newcomers to the cities were now without a 
livelihood and without prospect of economic advance. In addition the 
number of people engaged in business was augmented by the crisis. Em- 
ployes who were discharged from their jobs and unemployed workers 
began to engage in petty trading. During the years 1929-33 market trades- 
men appeared on the corners of the large cities of Germany and their 
numbers show that the percentage of such "independent" tradesmen 
grew from 15.9 to 16.4 percent. 

In the countries which were formed in Eastern Europe after the first 
World War definite attempts were made by the state to create an urban 
class, a commercial class, a professional class and the like. The nobility, 
impoverished by the war, and the peasants, brought into active political 
life by the war, now also sought places in the fields of commerce and the 
professions. The number of Jewish students in the universities during the 
years immediately following the World War corresponded to the propor- 
tion of Jews in the cities. With the entrance of the country people into 
the city occupations, however, the proportion of Jewish students began 
to diminish until it approximated the percentage of Jews in the entire 
population. In the case of Poland it diminished to an even greater 
extent. The number of Jewish students in Poland decreased during 
1922-35 by 3,000, whereas the number of non- Jewish students rose by 
12,000; the percentage ot Jewish students was 24.6 percent in 1922 and 
13.0 percent in 1935. In Hungary the percentage declined from 31.7 



percent in 1917-18 to 12.5 percent in 1933; in Latvia from 15.7 percent 
in 1921 to 7.1 percent in 1935-36; in Kaunas from 27 .1 percent in 1926 
to 16.4 percent in 1935. 

The relative decline of Jewish participation in urban economic 
activity is shown in percentage in the accompanying table. In, Budapest 
the number of Jews engaged in business decreased from 62.2 percent 
in 1900 to 50.6 percent in 1920 and 40.0 percent in 1935; in Lodz from 
67.8 percent in 1897 to 61.6 percent in 1921 and 51.0 percent in 1935; 
in Warsaw from 79.3 percent in 1882 to 62.1 percent in 1897, 60.0 percent 
in 1921, 54.0 percent in 1926, 51.4 percent in 1931 and 48.0 percent in 


In Percent 

Business and 


Public and 
private ttrvicei 
and profaaioaB 

Congress Poland 










Lithuania 1897 










Before 1914 Poland was a typical country of emigration; about 150*000 
people used to leave it annually in addition to the yearly temporary 
migrations in search of agricultural work. This emigration ceased with 
the passage of restrictive immigration laws in the immigration countries 
and the banning o outside agricultural workers from Germany. At the 
same rime the natural increase in population reached almost half a mil- 
lion per year. As a predominantly agricultural country Poland was also 
hard hit by the agricultural crisis and by the scarcity of land for the 


peasants. All these factors increased the stream of migrants from country 
to city and to city pursuits. Since industry could not absorb new workers 
because of the depression the newcomers together with the unemployed 
attempted to force their way into petty trades and handicrafts. 

An additional factor in this situation was provided by the fact that 
as the importance of the urban economic activities increased the state 
came to feel that the agencies for distribution and marketing should be 
kept in the control of the majority nationality. Due to all these causes the 
pressure upon urban occupations was greatly increased and as a result 
the opposition to the Jews intensified. The differences between Central 
and Eastern Europe are only those of degree of intensity, deriving from 
the difference in rate of industrialization. In Germany, where the Jews 
represented only a small percentage of the urban population, they were 
able to occupy most favorable economic positions. In all the cities, 
however, there were also non-Jewish elements coveting these positions 
and anxious to remove the Jews from them. In Eastern Europe the 
Jews made up more than one-third of the urban population and in their 
hands was concentrated from 60 to 75 percent of the commerce and from 
40 to 50 percent of industry and handicrafts. In these fields they occupied 
the lower as well as the highest positions. The non-Jews newly arriving 
from the villages and as yet not qualified to take over the more important 
positions vied with the Jews for the lower places. The process, therefore, 
was a more gradual one. Whereas in Germany we had the forceful 
ejection of the Jews from their economic positions, the countries in 
Eastern Europe (before the second World War) set up restrictions and 
obstacles, such as the citizenship laws in Rumania or the numerus clausus 
in Hungary, and aid was extended to the non-Jews through credits, 
government agencies and often forceful subjugation of the Jews. 

In the countries of Western Europe, where the Jews were few in 
number, the process of urbanization had either been completed some 
time before, as in England, or was slowly going on, as in France. There 
was no great influx of population from the country and the tendency 
toward autarky could not take form because of the relationships with the 
colonies. The conflict between Jew and non-Jew therefore did not 
come to the fore. In Central and Eastern Europe, however, the very 
development of capitalism, which presented the Jews with the opportunity 
to enter into various city pursuits and to occupy important economic 
positions, prepared the way for new classes of non-Jews who wanted to 


displace the Jews. This pressure on the part of the new groups upon the 
Jews provides the background for the intensification of antisemitism 
in the years preceding the second World War and its augmentation in 
Nazism and in the Nazi-dominated and influenced countries. 2 

The material from the war yean and the Nazi occupation is not yet sufficient for us 
to be able to come to definite conclusions about the measure of response to tb^ Nazi anti- 
Jewish propaganda in the occupied countries. We may, however, gain a general idea of the 
situation. In France and the Netherlands the non-Jewish population generally helped the 
Jews and was opposed to the Nazi anti-Jewish measures. The resistance movement in these 
countries was pro-Jewish. The reverse was true in the East-European countries (Poland, 
Lithuania, Latvia). The peoples of these countries mostly accepted the Nazi attitude 
toward Jews and in many cases even helped in its materialization. The resistance movement 
in these countries supported Jews to a slight extent only, and in some cases such as the 
M Armja Krajowa" in Poland* was antisemitic. In the concentration camps and elsewhere 
Poles, Lithuanian* and Ukrainians frequently assisted the Nazis in exterminating Jews, and 
their cruelty was not always surpassed by that of the Germans. As far as one can judge at 
present, the differences between Eastern and Western Europe continued to condition the rate 
of the Jews throughout the years of Nazi domination. 



The title of this paper is somewhat of a misnomer. Actually it is 
incorrect to speak of the psychology of an idea or of a sentiment without 
regard to the mental or psychological make-up of the person who hokls it. 
Hence it would be more accurate to speak of the psychology of the anti- 
semite as an active agent and of the psychology of the Jew as the object of 
antisemitism. It is true that in order to understand the reactions of an 
individual or a group to a given phenomenon one must inquire into its 
nature, but for purposes of psychologic investigation a study of the first is 
the more important of the two. The validity of this view becomes in- 
creasingly apparent as we come to realize that the nature of antisemitism 
often defies understanding, that many of the so-called reasons for its 
existence actually are no reasons at all, and that the violence of the hostile 
personal reactions is altogether out of proportion to the external factors 
which are said to give rise to them. 

In an article published in the Menorah Journal in 1925, 1 I reached 
the conclusion that antisemitism presents an emotional and not an in- 
tellectual problem and that in essence it is both an individual and a group 
neurosis. Here is a phenomenon which not only has eluded reason and 
logic but has deified time, place and persons, and has successfully resisted 
almost every attempt to cope with it. And so the question has arisen 
whether either the Jew or the Christian, despite assertions to the contrary, 
is actually willing and able to meet or understand it. More important 
than the validity or lack of validity of the alleged causes of antisemitism 
is the fact that its outbursts have generally served as vicarious outlets for 
the Christian. But evident as this may appear, it is perhaps no less true 
to say that antisemitism often serves as an evasion of unpleasant reality 
and, although it may sound paradoxical, that the Jew too has evaded the 
ultimate implications of the problems. It may even be admitted that many 
a Jew, who has what is not incorrectly called the pogrom mentality, is 

x "The Psychology of Anti-Semitism," in Menorah Journal, vol. xi (1925) 159-66. 


not altogether averse to an occasional outbreak of antisemitism provided 
it is not too violent or of long duration. 

Although attention has previously been called to this* it may be worth 
re-emphasizing that there are several types of antisemitism or several 
conceptions underlying it. One form has its core in the aversion to the 
Jewish religion. This and not the Jew is regarded with disfavor. He is 
discriminated against merely as the carrier or the embodiment of a religion 
which is offensive to the majority. In this scheme there is nothing wrong 
with the Jew; indeed he would be welcomed as an equal, provided he 
would discard his religion. That he must tear out deep roots, forswear 
his people, destroy his culture and do violence to his emotions in the 
process are fects of minor importance. It may be well to point out, how- 
ever, that although the religion and not the Jew is the object of the hate, 
it is human beings and not ideas that suffer persecution. Another type 
of antisemitism is that directed against the Jew as an individual or the 
Jewish group as an entity. In this scheme his religion is not altogether 
objectionable and his philosophy of life not quite unacceptable, but his 
personal or racial characteristics are abhorrent. This is the philosophy of 
the Jewish religion be praised and the Jew be damned. A third form 
is that which combines the two views and consistently danris both the 
Jew and his religion. It may be pointed out, however, that the reactions 
toward the Jew not only varied according to one or another of those views 
but differed at various times and places and depended upon a great many 
factors which entered into the situation of the moment. In the main, and 
for a long time, the antagonism of the Christians was directed against the 
Jew who stubbornly refused to embrace Christianity. More recently the 
antagonism toward him has grown in violence because he wants to be too 
much like his Christian neighbor. 

Perhaps the most outstanding characteristic of antisemitism is that it 
has persisted for a great many centuries and that, except for changing 
manifestations, is almost as virulent today as it ever was. Indeed it threatens 
to persist for a long time to come unless the cultural and economic struc- 
ture of society should undergo some radical change. While it is true that 
n>asy antagonism to the Jew existed in the pre-Christian Alexandrian and 
the early Roman Christian eras, 8 the phenomenon as we know it today 

itially grew up after the Christian religion became more or less domi- 

nant in Europe. Actually antisemitism did not take tra the dignity of a 

Sec the essay by Ralph Marcos bdaw, p. 61-78. 


philosophy of life until the Germans, with their fatal capacity to coin 
words and systematize error, perforce tried to rear ideologies which had 
no foundation in reason or nature. The fact is, however, that violent 
eruptions began about the eighth and ninth centuries, increased in fre- 
quency and intensity with the crusades, and have punctuated history down 
to date. That persecution of the Jew also occurred in the Islamic world 
is true, but that was more or less purely religious persecution. It never 
reached among the Moslems the dignity of a system of thought and never 
became a social aim. 3 

Intensely characteristic of antisemitism is its deep emotional hold on 
the Christian and its fairly general defiance of logic. The attempt has 
been made to explain antisemitism on a religious, basis, on economic 
grounds, on physical, racial or ethnological differences, on the idea based 
on the general antagonism to strangers and foreigners, on manners and 
culture, on the difference in the psychology of the Jew and the peoples 
among whom he lived, and on a host of other factors. It may readily be 
admitted that there is much to be said for each of these views. But it 
becomes dear even on superficial analysis that many of the reasons given 
are no reasons at all and many of the proffered explanations at best merely 
touch the surface of the problem. What is generally true is that, with 
honorable exceptions, most Christians have at one time or another felt 
and expressed either publicly or in private their emotional antagonism. 
And this applies equally to the gentleman and the knave, the illiterate 
and the scholar, the cultured and the boor, the rich man and the poor, 
the wise man and the fool. To add to the perplexity, all sorts of contra- 
dictory reasons are generally advanced. The Jew is a rebel and a patriot, 
an anarchist and socialist, a mongrel and racially pure, an exploiter and 
a dispossessed beggar, a coward and heroic martyr, and so on down the 
gamut of opposing human sentiments. 

The Jew is accused of assimilating too well or of persisting in being 
himself, and however much he may try to fit into the scheme of things he 
is still regarded as indigestible and unassimilable. The upshot is that 
recurrent attempts were made to put him in his place or make him harm- 
less; this in practise meant persecution or destruction. On all occasions 
the Christian world kept on telling the Jew, to use a colloquialism, that 
he cannot take it on the chin, wherefore they have persisted in hitting 
below the belt. To anticipate and to meet such attacks the Jew was com- 

See the essay by Samuel Rosenblatt below, p. 112-20. 


pelted to devise methods of self-defense which, to be successful, had to be 
devious. He was compelled to have recourse to subterfuge and to pro- 
tective coloration. The importance of this observation lies in this, that 
what are regarded as natural characteristics of behavior in the Jew are 
merely behavior patterns secondarily elaborated in the process of survival. 
The attack being brutal and unfair, the defense had to be canny and could 
not be overscrupulous. Pertinent to this is the Jew's insistence on the 
fiction of the chosen people. What began as an infantile delusion lingered 
on to become a powerful inner defense against assault from without. That 
the Jew was frequently chosen to be the butt of sadistic impulses merely 
goes to show how a harmless delusion can be turned into a horrible and 
grim joke. What is of interest is that the Jew, who is supposed to have a 
good sense of humor, has not yet learned to see the point. 

It may be admitted that by his persistence in remaining himself, the 
Jew has to a large extent contributed to the perpetuation of antiseznitism. 
He acted on occasion in the capacity of a lightning-rod and generally 
served the human need for a scapegoat. The phenomenon of antisemitism 
becomes understandable as we realize that culture and civilization are but 
thin veneers and that the human animal is still considerably blind and 
emotional in his behavior. Human nature being what it is and primitive 
impulses being what they are, the Jew has acted as an irritant. His adult 
sense of realism, for instance, jars infantile phantasy, and his insistence 
on peace and social ethics makes of him a nuisance to those who fed that 
war is a noble aim in life. Rigorous logic and realistic thinking can be 
very unpleasant, whereas muddled and superficial thinking is so much 

The occasional exhibition of tolerance toward the Jew, while it natu- 
rally called forth gratitude or at least gave rise to a sense of relief, actually 
served to irritate him. Tolerance implies a sense of superiority on the 
part of him who shows it. To this the Jew reacted either with a feeling 
of superiority of his own or a feeling of defeat which nursed a sense of 
inferiority. This engendered both a feeling of revolt and frustration and 
led to a sulking withdrawal into himself. So, too, the modern violent 
emphasis upon nationalism, chauvinism, standardization, and the reduc- 
tion of all society to the level of a low common denominator arouse the 
very opposite type of reaction in the Jew. Thus the unhealthy attitude of 
the Christian toward the Jew engenders an equally unhealthy attitude in 
the Jew toward the Christian. The fact that Christian religion has regarded 


the Jew as a challenge and his survival as an offense merely served to 
bring forth persistence and stubborn acts of defiance. 

It is becoming increasingly evident that the illogical aspects of anti- 
semitism, its blind fury, the futility of any defense which die Jew can 
put up, the contradictor}" and almost neurotic reactions which characterize 
it, make a rational solution almost hopeless. It is quite possible that a 
change in the economic order and the bridling of religious forces or the 
removal of the emphasis upon intense nationalism may weaken and ulti- 
mately eliminate antisemitism. Considering that progress in human cul- 
ture is not rapid and change in social structure slow, the probability is 
great that the same psychological factors will continue to operate. This 
may be a pessimistic view but it unfortunately fits the existing situation. 

The conclusion seems to be justified that up to and including the 
present the Christian world has shown neither the ability nor the inclina- 
tion to solve the problem of antisemitism; and it must be admitted that 
the Jew, too, has consistently refused to solve it. The only condition on 
which it can be eliminated, the Jew is neither willing nor able to meet. 
For antisemitism to disappear the Jew must cease to be; but this is precisely 
what he cannot do and the price he is unwilling to pay. Even allowing 
for the temporary aberration which forbids the Jew to assimilate, the 
attempt at assimilation is not always effective, and is not quite novel 
besides. As a matter of fact it has been tried before and it has failed. It 
has failed because it represented an unsatisfactory and not altogether 
honest compromise, and the world does not long tolerate dishonest com- 
promises. The Reform Jew attempted it with inconspicuous success. 
Actually the Jew tried to adapt himself without changing. He would be 
a Jew and non-Jew at the same time. He literally tried to eat the cake 
and to have it, and it simply cannot be done. To remain a Jew in the 
Christian world one must pay a price, and that price unfortunately is 
antisemitism. No ostrich attitude can do away with the fact. The orthodox 
Jew made his adjustment in a better and intellectually more honest way. 
He built a fence not only around the Torah but around himself as well, 
and he let the storms rage outside. This gave him an inner security which 
the modernized or half-assimilated Jew does not possess. It remains to be 
seen what Zionism will do. There are those who feel that it is the ultimate 
answer to the age-old problem; others feel that at best it is but a partial one. 

It is evident, therefore, that antisemitism is not simply a Jewish 
problem or a problem for the Jew alone. It affects the Christian no less 


than the Jew and warps the judgment of the one as much as of the other. 
If it be regarded as a disease it is no less a Christian than a Jewish disease; 
in fact more Christian than Jewish, though the Jew suffers most. It is an 
atavistic malady, a reversion to primitive, emotional ways of thinking 
and acting. And yet, paradoxical as it may sound, intelligence alone will 
ultimately be able to remedy it, the type of intelligence which squares 
with emotions at the same time that it bridles them. That type is of 
exceedingly slow growth. As long as blind emotions will continue to 
motivate human conduct, antisemitism will not perceptibly diminish. 



Antisemitism in both its active and its passive forms is a reality easily 
perceived and easily described; in its active form as antagonism and 
aggression and in its passive form as the effects of this aggression upon 
those against whom it is directed, the Jews. Yet those two forms, dear 
and inclusive as they may appear, do not seem to exhaust the entire phe- 
nomenon. There is one strip in this vast field which seems to lie beyond 
these observable realities or perhaps as a border strip between the active 
and passive parts. It is that area where active antisemitism ceases to be 
the seemingly easily explainable opposition to the Jew for definite reasons 
and where, on the other hand, the passive part consists of more than of 
bad effects caused by external forces, but where our reaction becomes an 
integral part of ourselves, an apparently spontaneous state of mind* The 
nature of this phase, in both parts, is of course to a great extent a psycho- 
logical one. Yet it is more than this, because the available psychological 
categories, taken from other ji-mtlar phenomena, do not suffice to explain 
it satisfactorily. It is the phase where antisemitism appears to us as a 
type of antagonism hardly comparable to any other case of this kind and 
again the effect of it in ourselves does not find its equal among the various 
psychological reactions of hated or persecuted individuals or groups. It 
is that phase which reveals to us the uniqueness of the phenomenon of 
antisemitism and the uniqueness of our reaction. Our approach may 
perhaps be called a phenomenological rather than a psychological one. 

The very attempt to detect, if possible, the causes of antisemitism and 
perhaps also to find ways and means of removing them, this very attempt 
of ours shows that it is still necessary to point out the unique character 
of the entire phenomenon and that the recognition of this uniqueness 
may also lead to a different attitude on our part. We open the Encyclo- 
paedia Judaica, a volume published in the good old days of the "Jewish 
Republic" in Germany, and we find an article on antisemitism extending 
over 150 columns. One long continuous story beginning with the book 
of Esther or with the more historical riots against the Jews on the island 
of Elephantine in 410 B.C.E. up to our own days the scenes of which 
were spread all over the world, wherever was present the suitable object, 
the Jew. The literature on both sides, beginning with the early Hel- 



lenistic period, is tremendous. Does not this merely quantitative feature, 
or in fact the very name, place antisemitism in a class by itself? There 
have been many nations which have been objects of antagonism; there 
have been religious, social and political movements with opposition to 
them, yet there has never been coined a standing term for the merely 
negative attitude. There is no name and no article in any encyclopedia 
in the world for anti-British or anti-Italian movements, nor for anti- 
socialism or anti-liberalism, etc. Was not in our case the term required 
in order to comprise all those various conflicting antagonisms, to com- 
prise them so that they lose their particular and negative character and 
become an all-inclusive and essentially positive concept although with 
negative tendency? Consequently the term philosemitism does not de- 
note the positive attitude of love to the Jews but rather only a negative 
attitude towards antisemitism, or as Max Mueller called it anti-anti- 

The uniqueness of the problem commences with this very name, with 
the hyphenless antisemitism. But the name is a result of the necessity to 
give a common denominator to a variety of sometimes even contradictory 
rationalizations. Within the same twelfth century we were persecuted 
by the Almohads for not believing in the unity of God and by the 
Crusaders for not believing in the Trinity. We are accused of extreme 
materialism by Luther ("Die Juden beten zur Erde") , by Renan, and 
recently also by one of the National-Socialist philosophers, Wilhelm 
Stapel, since Judaism preaches peace on earth; and again of too much 
abstractness and imagination by Tacitus and by Duhring ("Der Jude 
ist in Bildern und Traumen befangen, hat keinen Sinn fur's Wirkliche") . 
We are blamed for being communists and also for being international 
bankers. We are accused of backwardness and reactionism and at the 
same time for being the instigators of all radical revolutions. We are 
blamed for our stubborn separatism and at the same time for our ease 
of assimilation, for joining the ruling nation, and again for our innate 
internationalism. We are regarded as unproductive and mere mediators 
and transmitters of values created by others and yet we are the ones who 
poison the roots of other cultures. The list of these contradictions from 
all angles can be increased indefinitely. 

Yet these evident contradictions should not fill us with satisfaction 
and confidence as to the ease of their refutation or disuasion. On the 
contrary, those conflicting rationalizations show us how strong and gen- 


uine that thing is which stands behind the alleged reasons so as to re- 
move all logical scruples in producing them. It indicates that the decisive 
factor here is something primeval and irrational and that the rationaliza- 
tion is either an alibi for others or an excuse for oneself. We often hear 
it said: antisemites certainly do not themselves believe in the validity of 
their contentions but antisemitism has proved to be a good means of 
diverting the minds of the people in times of crises. It is precisely this, 
however, which again shows that in a crisis, where there is no rational 
way out, this irrational factor always can be awakened and used. If we 
remove all those superimposed post-factum rationalizations, antisemitism 
proves to be one of the rare specimens of pure hate; of that irrational, 
purely emotional negative fixation, which, as its counterpart, is by nature 

Thus its purity makes the hate a puzzling yet fascinating phenomenon 
sui generis. It gives it a certain absoluteness and identity through all the 
ages and through all the guises which it has assumed. We write histories 
of facts, of problems, of social and spiritual movements would it not be 
worth while also to write a history of attitudes? One of the most promis- 
ing topics for such a history would be a historical monograph on anti- 
semitism, which would divest the identical attitude of its time-conditioned 
garbs of argumentation and show, furthermore, by this most suitable 
example, how dexterously the irrational merges and hides itself within 
all kinds of rationalizations. There is, therefore, no greater self-deception 
than to speak of causes of antisemitism, or even of ways to remove them; 
all of the antisemitism we encounter in reality is nothing but a facade 
for the latent prime cause, which is irreducible. 

This is also the reason for the main complaint we have against anti- 
semitism, for its unjust generalization. The irrational in the subconscious 
reaches out and is happy to get hold of any individual case which may 
help substantiate its originally general attitude. Here also is the crucial 
point, where the antisemitic non-Jew, if otherwise just, becomes aware 
of that inner mutual incompatibility between the irrational motive and 
its rationalized pretense. This awareness develops frequently into an 
actual conflict in his attitude towards the individual Jew and the group. 
The saying by the antisemite that "some of his best friends are Jews" is 
more than a joke; it expresses the awakening of that conflict and the 
inability to resolve it. 

This conflict, however, appears in a much more intense form in our- 


selves. Our indestructible optimism with regard to the possibility of 
overcoming flr>tiv*rm f ^ Tr> would be ridiculous and a. classic example of 
the inability to learn a lesson from a history of two and one-half thousand 
years, were it not for the fact, that we ourselves, the directly concerned, 
suffer most of the conflict between the rational appearance and irrational 
essence of antisemitisxn, we suffer with it. Again and again we take a 
run against the rational front only to be smashed by the irrational stone 
wall behind. This repeated experience has entirely shaken the equilib- 
rium of our judgment in matters of individual and group. And this in 
two respects, with regard to acts done to individuals among us and with 
regard to acts by individuals of our group and their evaluation for the 
group. When an adverse act is done to one of us, we are never certain 
in our judgment whether we ought to take it as an individual act on its 
own merits or see in it an act directed against the group. We frequently 
make mistakes in both directions. Again, in the evaluation of outstand- 
ing good or bad acts on the part of individuals among us, we are over- 
sensitive in the case of a bad individual but even more overly proud of a 
good one this despite our continuous protestation against generaliza- 
tions. Here again we do it not addressing ourselves to the rational part 
of antiscmitism but in fear of or in triumph over that ever felt irrational 
in it. 

This peculiar reaction is quite different from the normal psychological 
attitude of self-defense or the readiness for it in an attacked individual 
or group. We plead with the rational against us but we are instinctively 
aware of the irrational. Hence that self-consciousness which accompanies 
our actions and undertakings even without an opponent in sight. It is 
that permament readiness and watchfulness, becoming even a certain 
solicitude for that which may happen, which is bound to happen. We 
reach out not for friends but for advocates, for defenders. 

We share of course with all the weak and persecuted the so-called in- 
feriority complex and its necessary corollary, the compensative tendencies. 
But corresponding to the tenacity and irrationality of the attack, these 
two tendencies, in their origin psychological, grew into the realm of the 
religious and the metaphysical. The inferiority developed into a sense 
of guilt, the compensation into the belief in having been chosen for a 
holy function among the nations. The idea of the extreme mutual re- 
sponsibility between the individual and the community is an original 
Jewish one and was operative in the very earliest forming of the Jewish 
view of life. The later ingredient is that element of collective self- 


accusation, of the group atoning for the sin of the individual and of in- 
terpreting our fate as our guilt. This constitutes an essential motif in 
the Jewish prayer book. It was the same with the compensative tendency. 
We elevated and hypostatized our history of suffering into a destined 
role imposed upon us, as the servant of the Lord, for the sanctification of 
His Name. Ours is a definite mission and our suffering is a part of it. 
The purposive center of our existence was put beyond, outside that 
existence, put into a remote metaphysical sphere. Here again the irration- 
ality of the action against us was met by the irrationality of our reaction. 

A further development of this self-consciousness is the split in the 
Jewish personality, resulting in that large gamut of self-criticism in which 
we Jews are incomparable. The underlying principle seems to be the 
same in the cheap Jewish joke and in the highly developed self-negating 
philosophy. The principle lies in that very area where we ourselves share 
somehow in the irrational attitude of antisemitism and are in fact to 
blame for the same unjust procedures, such as unfounded generalizations, 
of which we accuse the others. 

Our frequent inclination to a captious disapproval of acts or habits 
of our group is the most common feature of this attitude. These criti- 
cisms are, curiously enough, usually not directed against matters or traits 
in the moral field, where it might be very useful, but against certain 
esthetic matters, which are matters of taste, not to be examined or dis- 
puted. Let us be frank and admit that in these respects our attitude 
is not any more just than that of our enemies. We are tempted to over- 
state and generalize perhaps more readily than the decent non-Jew. Yet 
we do it with less logical consistency. While inclined to designate certain 
unpleasant mannerisms which we notice in individuals as inherent char- 
acteristics of the entire group, we still rlahn the right for ourselves to be 
regarded as free from these undesirable characteristics of our own group. 
Why, then, should we not regard our alleged model behavior as the be- 
havior of our group? One can frequently hear the loud complaints of a 
Jew, after dinner, of the noisiness of the Jews. Here too belongs that 
explanation of the hotel-owner who excludes Jews from his hotel because 
some non-Jews object to them. He contends that he would be perfectly 
willing to have Jews only, but when the non-Jews do not come the Jews 
stay away too. 

A step further and a chapter in itself is the self-derision so peculiar to 
Jews. It is revealed in the little joke as well as in the highly developed 
an of the Eisenbachs in Vienna and of some well-known comedians here 


and in other Jewish centers. There are jokes about peculiarities of many 
national or racial groups, o Irishmen, of negroes, etc. Nowhere, how- 
ever, can one find such an abundant output of this kind of fun by 
members of the groups themselves. This should by no means be regarded 
as censure of the Jewish individuals who participate in such Jewish self- 
derision. It is but another symptom of the entire mental situation. 

All these phenomena culminate in that of conscious self-negation, of 
the peculiar Jewish cases of self -hatred. This is not always articulate or 
communicative enough to furnish us with sufficient documentary ma- 
terial. The tragedy of being that which one despises in specie is too great 
a conflict as to always find or even seek a vent for expression. There are 
enough cases, however, to serve as representatives for the silent many. 
There has hardly been an outstanding antisemite who did not have his 
Jewish followers, mostly just in this point. Schopenhauer had his Frauen- 
stadt and Ascher, Richard Wagner his Heinrich Forges and Herman 
Levi, and even Diihring found a Jewish writer, Benedikt Friedlander, 
who made him the beneficiary of a great fortune after committing suicide. 
Above all there are famous cases of men of great sensitivity and creative 
genius who were consumed by their tragic conflict. I refer to the con- 
vulsive Arthur Trebitsch, fighting desperately against his own being with 
philosophical and political weapons, to Otto Weininger, in whom that 
conflict reached the highest metaphysical expression, to Paul R6e, the 
once close friend of Nietzsche, who in noble taciturnity carried his cross, 
and a number of others who found no way out other than physical self- 
destruction. These were not cowards or traitors; they represent rather 
the highest and most intense type of self-identification with the group. 
They took the sin of the group, as they saw it, upon themselves and they 
sought to atone for it as rigidly as they could. It is the prophetic revolt, 
only in the opposite direction. It was Weininger who in his last writings 
used most frequendy the word crime, but it is true for all of them, that 
they felt as guilt not our fate, as does our prayer book, but our very being, 
our so-being. 

Such is the unique reaction on our pan to the unique aggression 
against us. This reaction can by no means be pigeonholed into the con- 
cept of defense-mechanism or the inferiority complex of a persecuted 
group. Its roots reach into a much deeper layer and, as I wish to point 
out, essentially into the same layer from which that primeval antagonism 
of our opponents comes. 

This reaction should support us, along with other reasons, in rejecting 


those theories about antisemitism, which although recognizing the pre- 
dominance of the hate-motif and so being closest to OUT view still try to 
subsume our special case under a larger and more general category. I 
refer especially to the theory of F. Bernstein, who sees antisemitism 
entirely as a special case of group antagonism directed against a weak 
minority. It would lead 115 too far were we to enumerate here the many 
essential differences between antisemitism and any other contempt or 
even persecution of a socially inferior minority. We are more feared for 
our strength than despised for our weakness. I have also in mind the 
theory of Constantin Brunner, who in a number of books tries to interpret 
antisemitism as group-egoism in contradistinction to Denken* If there be 
any particle which our plain meaning of thinking has in common with 
Brunner's Denken, it would be surprising indeed 'that antisemitism 
flourished and reached its climax just im Lande der Denker, not without 
the active support of leading thinkers, past and present. 

We must, therefore, make the last step and resort to the unique, 
unsubsumable, and irrational. It may be it was not always so, perhaps 
time vaporized all which might once have been a material admixture or 
a logical reason in antisemitism. Today, to us reviewing the past it 
appears pure, yes even pure of prejudice, because it is not based on any 
judicial premises. 

To recognize this true character of antisemitism may be of great 
advantage to us, even though we cannot propose any means for its cure. 
The pessimistic result is not entirely negative. Sometimes the recogni- 
tion of a condition as inevitable and immutable is not of less value for 
our behavior than the discovery of means to remove it. Our knowledge 
of the inevitability of death also only an empirical one without scientific 
demonstration-4ias become a corrective, stimulating and enriching part 
of our life and so more valuable than some futile speculations about an 
escape. By resigning ourselves to the irrationality and essential incura- 
bility of the* condition of antisemitism we 'may succeed in modifying our 
reaction for the better. We might first abandon the underlying ideologies 
of organizations like Affiance Israelite, Verein zur Abwehr des Antisemi- 
tismus, antiHaefemation leagues, with their hope to uproot the evil through 
persuasion and argument or even through changing our mode of life by 
a- new distribution of occupations; by improving our manners, etc. We 
might save ourselves the disappointment bound to follow such attempts. 
Every attempt to fight an irrational phenomenon by rational means, mi*- 
taking symptoms for causes, is not only futile but also harmful; it leads 


to that dash with the stone wall, the shock of disillusionment, and all 
the resulting and lasting consequences. 

We might also relieve somewhat that tension which results from the 
dualism in the Jewish soul and which leads to the split attitude and 
conflict, to the peculiar self-consciousness and also to self-negation. Self- 
accusation is inverted apologetics, and to the disillusionment of the 
latter corresponds the tragedy of self-condemnation. Both root ultimately 
in the experience of the inefficacy of the rational. 

There are two places where the correctness of our interpretation of the 
Jewish reaction may be tested. One is Palestine; there too we are still 
a minority surrounded by a strongly antagonistic majority; there, too, 
we have to be ready for defense against severe attacks. But in Palestine 
there is missing that irrational element; there is a fight for land, for 
rights, for rational matters against a rationally understandable opposi- 
tion. The second place is, paradoxically enough, present-day Germany. 
This represents one of those involuntary experiments, well known in our 
history. Antisemitism in Germany has revealed itself in all its nakedness; 
occasional rationalization is only a joke on foreign correspondents. There 
also the Jewish reaction is by necessity free of all apologetic illusions. 
The struggle there, inch by inch, is for ground for bare existence. But 
in both places, I am sure, Jews mind less their looking Jewish and the 
mannerisms o other Jews; the self-deriding Jewish comedian is out of 
work, and the atmosphere is certainly not favorable for the growth of a 
Maximilian Harden or Karl Kraus or Otto Weininger. The German 
catastrophe is at least not reflected any more in a tragic conflict within 
the Jew. 

Whenever we are confronted with an ambiguously rationalized, at 
times even bashful antisemitism, let us courageously penetrate to the 
truth behind it. In the individual cases of aggression we must of course 
defend ourselves with all available means, protect our rights and our 
honor and also our life, socially, economically and spiritually we should 
improve following the demands of our best wisdom and conscience. But 
let us give up the apologetic squinting; let us free ourselves from the 
burden of proof for the right of our existence and also from the burden 
of finding and removing the causes of that which is itself a prime cause. 
When called to the last account it is not we who are the defendants. 
Let us submit to our fate with reserve and dignity. 
And yet: Utinam interpret falsus sim! 


Antisemitism, in its overt form, is the belief that Jews are a pernicious 
influence in the entire structure of modern life and hence must be effec- 
tively removed. This philosophy of Jewish-Christian relations, developed 
and furthered by antisemites, cannot be disregarded. It made such 
progress in the defunct Third Reich that German Jewry, the most 
cultured and advanced Jewry in the world, has been degraded politically, 
culturally, and socially. National Socialism as an international move- 
ment made itself felt in almost every civilized country of the world and 
the extent of its permeation marks the extent of its threat to all who 
belong to the Jewish group by virtue of the circumstances of their birth. 
The universal result of antisemitism is twofold. It affects the Jew not 
only in his status as a member of society but, even more tragically, it 
breaks down his morale as an individual. It not only crushes the Jew 
as a citizen, but it burns into his soul a devastating sense of inferiority. 
It is advisable, therefore, that Jews review their defenses against this 

Before we can rid ourselves of the plague of antisemitism we must 
first understand its origins, its causes and its aims. Herein lies the first 
difficulty. The Jew is not conscious of any degree of wrongdoing that 
justifies the almost insane hate of him which possesses some people. It 
is fairly obvious, however, that antisemitism has not arisen out of a 
vacuum. Students of the subject are generally agreed that it has causes 
of a historico-psychological nature among which they list religious dif- 
ference, economic maladjustment, chauvinist nationalism, and the mys- 
terious workings of the ego. It is not easy to determine which of these 
causes are basic and which are derived. It is even possible that some are 
only rationalizations of more fundamental causes. 

Many antisemites think that their dislike of Jews is instinctive that 
it is due to a consciousness of the baneful racial characteristics of the 
Jew. Many of them today honestly believe that their rejection of the 
Jew is motivated by the desire to protect their own race. It is an allur- 
ing thought: the geographical state can fulfill its cultural mission only if 



all its people are closely integrated racially and if all different (and by 
inference, inferior) racial groups are firmly and inexorably eliminated. 

It is a significant fact that the attack on the Jews has been most bitter, 
for the last eight hundred years, during periods of economic crisis and 
economic transition. It has been quite immaterial whether the economic 
background was of an agrarian-handicraft or of a capitalistic type. The 
Jews have stood out as a group closely identified with a money economy, 
and during any period of financial stress it was inevitable that this mi- 
nority should be singled out for suspicion. 1 This has been particularly 
true inasmuch as responsible political and economic leaders have fre- 
quently diverted the hatred of the masses from themselves by directing 
it towards the Jews. 

In considering the causes that make for dislike of the Jew, many 
students have come to believe that religious difference no longer plays 
any part in turning Christians against Jews. It is, however, generally 
agreed that until the introduction of the lay and free public school in the 
middle of the nineteenth century, the teachings of practically all churches 
made for at least contempt of the Jew. But one is forced to ask whether 
there has been any appreciable change since that time in the religious 
teachings of the average conservative Protestant sect and of the Roman 
Catholic Church with respect to the Jew. The fact is that in both groups 
the great mass of Christian children are still taught a drama of Christian 
salvation in which the Jew is always the villain. The responsibility of 
Christian religious teachings for the present unchristian attitude toward 
the Jew must not be underrated. 2 

It is very probable that racial and religious prejudices are the result 
of religious indoctrination. It is even possible that economic envy, as 
directed toward the Jew, is an artificial creation. But the distrust of the 
Jew because he is different lies deeply and naturally rooted in the human 

To a certain degree the Jew is different. He is an ethnic and religious 
minority. Many gentiles look upon him as a creature without a home- 
land, a wanderer who has had no country of his own for the last two 
thousand years. He is found everywhere. There is a physiognomy which 
characterizes a not inconsiderable percentage of Jews and is considered 

'See the essay by B. Wefoxyb above, p. 17-54. 
'See the essay by Solomon Grayzel below, p. 79-92. 


typically Jewish. As a result of historical and environmental conditions 
many Jews evidence definite mannerisms. Even in their vocations they 
occupy a narrowly circumscribed field, being limited to specific branches 
of commerce and the professions. They are the followers of what is 
practically the only non-Christian religion in the Western world. Fur- 
thermore they do not intermarry to an appreciable degree. Not a few of 
this differing group have achieved a marked degree of success in intel- 
lectual and economic pursuits. Ruling classes with traditional vested po- 
litical and economic interests look askance at their ability, the struggling 
petty bourgeois envy them and both these groups compensate for the 
real or imagined superiority of the Jew by hating or attacking him. 
The antipathy of certain scholarly Christian historians and theologians 
is probably intensified consciously or unconsciously by the realization 
that Christianity owes its origin to Judaism. Furthermore it is instinctive 
for the majority group to resent the minority whether that minority be 
servile or imperious. In this group-distrust of the dissimilar there cer- 
tainly abides one of the deepest roots of anti-Jewish sentiment. 

When we consider the problem of setting up moral and intellectual 
defenses against antisemitism, we must face the undeniable fact that 
the causes which have produced antisemitism are largely inherent in the 
social order. The accomplishment of our purpose, therefore, presupposes 
the alteration of some of the basic principles and institutions of our 
society. And this is no mean task. The need for radical change is par- 
ticularly stressed by communist ideologists. They contend that the basic 
source of antisemitism is the economic disorder of society. All other 
causes, they say, are either minor or they are mere rationalizations. 
Antisemitism is a by-product of capitalism. It is because the Jew is the 
weakest, and yet at the same time one of the most typical figures of the 
unjust capitalist economy, that he is singled out for attack by the masses. 
The attack on the Jew, they tell us, is thus merely an expedient, a substi- 
tute for an attack on capitalism. Agrarian and industrial magnates and 
conservative statesmen have frequently utilized antisemitism to turn the 
economically distressed against the Jew and thus to divert attention from 
themselves, the real culprits. Socialization of all wealth, we are informed, 
would solve the Jewish problem by removing the inciting capitalists, 
and by according to all individuals equal economic opportunity and 


In spite of the fact that the communist analysis of and cure for Judeo- 
phobia deserves a more critical scrutiny, we may, nevertheless, assume, 
for the purpose of our argument, that they are correct. What price, 
however, would the Jew have to pay for such immunity? He would in 
the first place have to surrender the capitalistic outlook to which the 
gnat majority of Jews adhere. He would have to withstand the tremen- 
dous social pressure of his environment which is rabidly anti-communistic. 
He would have to surrender personal liberties of the type included in 
our BiU of Rights for the duration of a dictatorship of the proletariat. 
More significant is the fact that he would have to fit into a politico- 
economic system where religious affiliation brings real disabilities. 
Judaism, as a religion, cannot live a normal life under Marxian com- 
munism, and a very appreciable proportion of Jews are still religionists. 
So that even if we admit that communism would eliminate antisemitism 
there is no question but that the great mass of Jews today whether they 
are right or wrong would not accept this solution* 

The Marxians are unquestionably correct in emphasizing the need 
for a widespread change in the nature of our economic structure. It is 
hard to believe that any mere vocational shift of the Jew to crafts and 
agriculture, away from commerce and the professions, would really help 
to allay attack. What is important is that periodic financial dislocations 
be controlled and. economic opportunity be made more general. The 
restless masses will not cease to rise in protest until they are guaranteed 
economic security. There must be economic peace before there can be 
social peace. 

It would be a mistake, I believe, to lay too much weight on the 
danger from the new race theories. Sound scientific rejection of racism 
has been universal, and the impossibility of manufacturing a Nordic 
German race became so obvious that it has impressed itself even on the 
National Socialist leaders. The racist theory as a justification for anti- 
Jewish discrimination was liquidated by the Thud Reich. The Nurem- 
berg legislation of September, 1935 abandoned the pseudo-scientific 
concept of Aryans and non-Aryans, and laconically knew only Jews and 
non-Jews. Future Jewish well-being depends on the type of nationalism 
which will prevail. In a state where kindred ethnic origin, uniformity 
in religion, folkways, and group institutions are a prerequisite for citizen- 
ship, the Jew, as a Jew, cannot fiope to be tolerated permanently. The 


Jew must defend himself by encouraging belief in a type of state wherein 
various groups are not merely tolerated but admitted as of right and 
even admired for their specific cultural contribution. In a truly demo- 
cratic structure it is difficult for antisemitism to become a real menace 
to the Jew or to the body politic. Liberal states normally make for 
liberal indoctrination if they are wise. 

A Jewish state large enough to contain millions of Jews .and adequate 
to support them is another obvious solution to antisemitism, but it is 
patent that Palestine will find it almost impossible to serve this purpose. 
There has been a tendency to overestimate the role that Zionism can 
play in combatting prejudice against the Jew. Contrary to the belief of 
some Zionist ideologists I question whether the status of Jewish dignity 
in the diaspora will improve through the creation of a Jewish homeland. 
We have no reason to assume that the antisemite will heave overboard 
his antagonism against the "wandering" Jew the moment he discovers 
that the Jew, who will still remain ubiquitous, has attained some degree 
of respectability by the acquisition of a political homeland* But it would 
be wrong to fail to realize what an important part Zionism is playing 
in thi$ contemporary drama of antiseinitism, for Palestine is practically 
the only land which offers a haven of refuge to the victims of anti-Jewish 
prejudice. But it is more than a physical palliative. It is a messianic 
hope in the form of a political and social ideal, strengthening the morale 
of millions who feel that the world about them has failed to understand 

In the realm of intellectual defense, false charges against the Jew 
should not be left unchallenged. It is important that impressionable 
adolescents at school learn their Shakespeare from some other drama 
than The Merchant of Venice; old English ritual murder ballads should 
be omitted from textbooks, unless you would have people believing in 
this myth. The term Jew as a synonym for cunning, cheat, and usurer 
should be deleted from the dictionary and the thesaurus of synonyms. 
Libel laws to protect the Jews as a group have been very helpful in some 
countries. Antisemitism has been outlawed in the Soviet Republics. 
Good-will movements created to bring about better relations between 
Jew and Christian are genuinely helpfuL It is true that they are fre- 
quently sneered at by the sophisticated, but if they have no validity then 
neither have international conferences nor any institute designed to bring 


people together to iron out their misunderstandings. 

In order to preclude prejudice at its very source it might be exceed- 
ingly helpful if an authoritative joint committee o Jews and Christians 
undertook to examine all Protestant and Catholic religious textbooks 
with a view to determining what part, if any, they play in inculcating 
suspicion or hate of the Jew. Steps in this direction have already been 
taken by several organizations, but a great deal more still remains to be 
done in the more orthodox Christian religious schools. Such a com- 
mission might go even further and consider the advisability of recom- 
mending the frank and sympathetic treatment of the Jewish problem 
in Christian religious textbooks with the hope that the rising generation, 
if it does not like the Jew, will at least make an attempt to understand 
him and to be just to him. And while this commission is engaged in the 
task it might undertake to analyze the curricula and conduct of our 
great youth organizations to determine whether they make for sympathy 
and tolerance for all groups or for a -narrow nationalism and an ultimate 

It is important that the ethical note be emphasized in national and 
international thinting and action. The state in its relation to its com- 
ponent groups and in its relation to the states beyond its borders ought 
to be motivated by a broad concept of humanitarian justice. The concept 
of Staatsrason by which the state arrogates to itself the right to create its 
own moral standards -in national' conduct is inherently immoral. Also 
the hallowed belief that no state has a right to interfere in the inner life 
of a foreign power, a belief which tolerates gross abuses against helpless 
minorities, must be revamped. A concept of spiritual community among 
the nations of the world will go far toward bettering the position of the 
Jew in all lands. Nor are the Jews themselves without obligation in this 
matter. The individual Jew must become more conscious of the need 
of greater moral responsibility in his own life. It must be retfiarked 
that the Jews are frequently judged and condemned as a group because 
of the actions of a single individual. . 

It is not too much to hope that as the world gradually expands its 
sympathies it will view the Jewish nnnority in a different light Minority 
groups have occasionally in history succeeded not only in winning a 
measure of tolerance 'for themselves but even a large degree of admira- 
tion. A striking illustration is the case of the pacifist Quakers of the 


United States who were first hanged like common criminals but who are 
now revered for their group character. To this hope for a greater toler- 
ance the average Jew might protest with indignation that true liberalism 
should never even require of him that he justify his existence as a 
minority. The answer is that no matter what hopes we cherish of a 
future elimination of the prejudices of the many against the one, actually 
we are at this moment a minority facing a majority, and majorities still 
insist that minorities justify their persistent separateness or disappear. 

Through what media, one may ask, shall the Jew attempt to carry 
on his program of improving his position, a program as broad as liberal 
political, economic, ethical and cultural aspiration itself? The Jew's hope 
is humanity's hope. There are a host of liberal institutions, groups and 
bodies making for a more ethical society. The Jew should associate him- 
self with them as his individual proclivities prompt him, and work to 
effectuate their goals. There are also a large number of Jewish societies 
that concern themselves directly with the Jewish problem and with these 
he may align himself. 

There is no need to create new Jewish organizations to meet this 
problem of security. The moment the Jew left his ghetto and faced an 
industrialized world which was willing to emancipate Mm at a price- 
he had to make his adjustment. It is hardly an exaggeration to maintain 
that since the days of the establishment of the Board of Deputies of 
British Jews in 1760 practically .every Jewish institution, including the 
cult societies, has been motivated by the need and desire to fit harmo- 
niously and securely into the general social environment. Even the various 
Jewish cultural societies and their literary productions, beginning with 
the Verein fur, Cultur und Wissenschaft der Juden in 1819 and going 
down through the Jewish Encyclopedia, in 1901, have been prompted in 
large part by the desire to have the world at large really understand the 
Jew and thus accept him without reservation. The Jews have realized 
for a long time that the gentile world was adjusting itself only with great 
difficulty to an emancipated Jewry. To help himself, therefore, the Jew 
has created a host of institutions. It is imperative, however, that there 
be closer liaison and integration between all existing Jewish organiza- 
tions and that they envisage the Jewish problem on a much broader scale. 
The creation of the National Community Relations Advisory Council 
(1944) was a step in the right direction, but this new Council must be 


given considerably more authority if it is to effectively co-ordinate the 
labors of the major Jewish civic-defense bodies. The problem of the 
Jew, we repeat, however, is not so much the problem of the Jew as the 
problem of humanity, of society as a whole which must be educated 
toward more rational attitudes. 

One might counter to this simple statement of hopes that nothing 
new is offered here, that this is no real solution to the pressing problem of 
antisemitism. One might say that this suggestion means in large part 
merely the raising of the ethical niveau of society, and that we have been 
trying to do this for generations. One might object further that all these 
suggestions have been tried, particularly in Germany, the classical land 
of apologetics, and they have failed ignominiously. And finally one might 
hold that antisemitism is an irrational philosophy, and that therefore 
rational procedures are of no avail. 

How valid is this argument? There is one assumption which we shall 
have to accept, namely, that society as a whole is fundamentally rational 
and potentially humanitarian. If this premise is not admissible, then the 
historic group known as the Jews must continue to look forward to the 
future with apprehension. The only hope of the Jews, I believe, lies in 
an appeal to the masses whose rationality and educability we must 
assume. This hope is not a treacherous one. The policy of having faith 
in humanity and of striving to enlighten it with respect to ourselves has 
been historically effective. It has not failed even in Germany. Recall, if 
you will, that the German Holy Roman Empire was also the classical land, 
of medieval brutality toward the Jew. Literally hundreds and thousands 
of Jews were cruelly done to death over a period of centuries. The 
tradition of bitter hate toward the Jew has been ploughed deep within 
every furrow of German soil; it has seeped into the subconsciousness of 
a people which is stained with the blood of twenty-five generations of 
slaughtered Jews. Yet in spite of this primeval urge to hate and to de- 
stroy, in spite of the almost strangling hold of the German past on the 
soul of the German, he succeeded to an astounding degree in throwing 
off the incubus of his own tradition. The nineteenth century with its 
flowering of enlightenment, education and humanitarianism, made a pro- 
found impression on him. The furious onset of antisemitic propaganda 
and systematic mass agitation of the 'seventies of the last century staggered 
the German but did not sweep him off his feet. As late as 1932 Germany 


did not re-enact a single anti-Jewish law in spite of its centuries of intense 
anti-Jewish tradition and propaganda. In no free election have the anti- 
Semites ever gained a majority of German votes on a clear anti-Jewish 
issue- Antisemitism, I believe, is not predominant in the thoughts of the 
great mass of the German people even today, I do not maintain that they 
are philosemites! 

I say all this in spite of the fact that I realize the cynical cruelty and 
the utter brutality which prevailed in Germany. But I insist that it would 
be wrong and would indicate a woeful lack of historical perspective to 
draw the conclusion, as many do, that liberalism has collapsed through- 
out the world and particularly in Germany. The anti-Jewish German 
legislation was the action of a limited group of patriotic bigots or criminal 
adventurers who succeeded through violence and terrorism in imposing 
their antisemitism on the great mass of the German people. I do not 
believe that the majority of the German people in a free election would 
ever have subscribed to the antisemitic program of the National Socialist 
Party. Furthermore, reflection will make us realize that the general 
humanitarian attitude has so progressed that the German mistreatment 
of the Jew has been condemned abroad almost universally. The goal of 
all our educational efforts must be to bulwark the masses of the people 
everywhere with a sense of sympathy and justice toward all groups, so 
that even in times of abnormal stress no one will be able to rally an 
appreciable minority around himself on the ground of antisemitism. 

There is no easy solution to our problem. It will be a long hard pull 
through centuries. Antisemitism, we know, is but one phase of the larger 
problem of universal spiritual adjustment and social justice. In a more 
limited sense it is a phase of the incipient process of the emancipation 
of the Jew by the non-Jew. It is just about a generation since the bulk 
of world Jewry was emancipated. The grandfather of practically every 
Jew in the United States was born without adequate civil and political 
rights. You cannot wrench fifteen hundred years of prejudice out of the 
hearts of the Western world in less than one generation. Emancipation 
did not well forth from the hearts of the masses; it was imposed by the 
minds of philosophers and statesmen. The concept of emancipation has 
not yet matured in the souls of the masses. 

I know that Jews, human beings, are being crushed almost under our 
eyes. We are desperate for immediate salvation, but the kingdom of 


heaven is not yet at hand. We will have to work zealously and cour- 
ageously with liberal groups everywhere, struggling with them to insist 
upon a real implementation of the new United Nations Charter. Herein 
lies a real hope for the future. 

Part II: 




"Antisemitism" is here used to mean the expression of hostility toward 
Jews felt by the government or subjects of a state in which Jews are 
settled in sufficient numbers to be considered an alien minority. This 
hostility, so far as it is consciously felt and rationalized, arises from the 
belief that the Jews are a separate and unassimilable element in the state 
because they differ from their neighbors in religion or culture or in 
social and political and economic status, whether in several or all of these 

It is the business of the social psychologist to analyze the instinctive 
factors involved in this feeling of difference. We can all, however, recog- 
nize certain general human traits and sentiments which underlie anti- 
semitism in any period in any pan of the world. They may be concisely 
summarized as follows: (1) distrust of an alien group, and credulity 
toward lies and exaggerations concerning its beliefs and conduct, particu- 
larly in matters of religion; (2) resentment of competition in business 
and professions or of the privileged social, political or economic position 
of an alien group; (3) the tendency of the poorer classes to look for a 
scapegoat on which to blame their misery, and the opportunism of dema- 
gogues in diverting the resentment of the poorer classes into hatred of 
an alien minority. 

These general human tendencies were as active in the Hellenistic- 
Roman period as at any later time. Before considering the concrete 
forms which they assumed we may notice the particular characteristics 
of the Jews as a group which were likely to offend the prejudices of their 
neighbors at that time. The Jews were very proud of their religion and 
their social customs and did not conceal their contempt for pagan reli- 
gions, especially the worship of animal-gods in Egypt. The Jews were also 
careful to maintain their separateness from gentiles in matters of diet, 
observance of the Sabbath and the like, and appeared to -their neighbors 
to be exclusive, clannish and, as the Greeks called it, "misanthropic." 
The Jews were insistent and aggressive in claiming political rights and 
privileges, usually such as were made necessary by their peculiar religious 



customs. Finally, the Jews as individuals, and in some states as a group, 
were often favored politically or economically by the Macedonian or 
Roman ruler over against the gentile population of the state and thus 
appeared to their neighbors as aliens protected by royal favoritism. 

Before dealing with qnti$ffrnfoijqn in the Hellenistic-Rornan period, 
we may pause to consider an incident which occurred in the preceding 
period, when the diaspora really began in the West. During the fifth 
century B.C.E. there was a Jewish colony settled at Elephantine in Upper 
Egypt, which had been placed there as a border garrison by the Persians 
who ruled Egypt at that time. From the Aramaic papyri discovered there 
a few decades ago we learn that the Jews were attacked by the local 
Egyptians and their temple partly destroyed In this case the hostility 
of the Egyptians was not due merely to religious differences, because the 
Jewish settlers were partly assimilated and had intermarried with the 
Egyptians to some extent. The chief reason for the attack was probably 
that in the eyes of the native Egyptians the Jews were the agents of the 
hated foreign power, Persia, and a revival of Egyptian nationalist feeling 
at the end of the fifth century B.C.E. naturally took the form of an 
attack on the Jewish alien minority. Here for the first time we have an 
instance of antisemitism based on the feeling of a subject population that 
the Jews were the instruments of their foreign oppressors. This instance 
of antisemitism at Elephantine in the Persian period has been cited 
because it shows so clearly the result of a situation which was to recur 
frequently in later periods, namely, that the Jews were not only regarded 
as aliens but as aliens favored by a foreign ruler above the native 

At the end of the fourth century B.C.E. the Persian empire sur- 
rendered its territory in western* Asia and Egypt to the Macedonian king, 
Alexander the Great. Not long after the death of Alexander, in 323 
B.C.E., his vast empire was partitioned among his generals; Egypt fell 
to Ptolemy I, whose descendants ruled that country for almost three 
hundred years until it became a Roman province in 30 B.C.E. Palestine 
also became a Ptolemaic possession and remained in Egypt's control until 
about 200 B.CJE., when the rival dynasty of the Seleutids, whose capital 
was at Antioch in Syria, conquered it and governed it for some fifty yean 
.until the Jews under the leadership of Hasmoneans won their inde- 


The most important Jewish settlements in the diaspora down to about 
100 B.C.E. were in Ptolemaic Egypt, Seleucid Syria and the more or 
less independent city-states on the coast of Asia Minor. During this 
period, from about 300 to 100 B.CJE., there is little evidence of wide- 
spread or intensive antisemitism, at least in the diaspora with which we 
are here concerned. We may, however, pause to consider the events which 
occurred in Palestine just before and during the reign of Antiochus IV 
Epiphanes, which most people regard as clear evidence of antisemitism. 
A careful study of political conditions in Judaea and of the general policy 
of Antiochus makes it clear that the Seleucid king's attempt to interfere 
with the religious practises of the Jews was not really due to antisemitism, 
as we have defined the term. Antiochus Epiphanes inherited from his 
predecessors the obligation to pay a large war-indemnity to Rome and 
was badly in need of money; hence his expropriations of temple-treasures, 
not only in Jerusalem but in other cities of his empire. Moreover, he 
was anxious to unify his empire, which consisted of racially and cul- 
turally diverse nations Jews, Syrians, Greeks, Iranians and others in 
order to oppose a strong and homogeneous force to his chief enemy, 
Rome. It was for that reason that he attempted to Hellenize the native 
population by combining some elements of Greek religion and culture 
with their own. Finally, he knew that there was a party of Jewish leaders 
in Jerusalem who favored the Ptolemies and were hostile to the Seleucids, 
and when on one occasion he returned from Egypt after an unsuccessful 
attempt to seize the country and found that some of his Jewish officials 
in Jerusalem, who approved of his Hellenizing plans, had been driven 
from the city by the pro-Ptolemaic party, he attacked the city and ordered 
the inhabitants of Jerusalem and Judaea to conform to his program of 
Hellenization, which of course meant violating the traditional practices 
of Judaism. It cannot, therefore, be said that the persecution of pious 
Jews and the plundering of the temple in Jerusalem by Antiochus 
Epiphanes were simply manifestations of antisemitism. 

There was a large settlement of Jews in Ptolemaic Egypt, most of 
them living in the capital, Alexandria, and a good many in the large 
cities of lower and middle Egypt. The Jews in Alexandria were prob- 
ably not possessed of full civic rights, as Josephus claims, but they un- 


doubtedly had certain privileges which made their social and economic 
status about as favorable as that of the Macedonians, who were full 
citizens, and superior to that of the native Egyptians. We must re- 
member tfrftt in the countries governed by the Macedonia" successors 
of Alexander the Great civic status was regulated by much the same prin- 
ciple which had obtained in the Greek city-state of the classical period. 
Full rights of citizenship were extended to free persons of Macedonian 
or Greek descent, who were expected to participate in the official religious 
cults of the state. Beside the citizen-body there might be legally recog- 
nized communities or polittumata of aliens and at die bottom of the list 
came the large mass of natives and slaves. Now the Jews of Alexandria 
(so far as we can judge from the sources of the Roman period, a little 
later) formed a separate and compact community or politeuma with 
their own magistrates, courts and religious institutions. They were, of 
course, subject to the general laws of the state, but were probably pro- 
tected in the observance of their customs by being exempted from 
attendance at court on the Sabbath, or from having to join in the worship 
of pagan gods officially honored by the ruler. There can hardly be any 
doubt that the native Egyptians in Alexandria resented the preferential 
treatment, as it must have seemed to them, accorded to the Jews. 

We may now briefly indicate the chief incidents of hostility shown 
toward the Jews in Ptolemaic Egypt. Unfortunately the sources for the 
period for the first century and a half are so scanty that we can only say 
that no evidence exists of real opposition on the part of the Macedonian 
rulers dining this time. The fragments of the writings of Greek historians 
preserved by Josephus and later Christian writers, the half-legendary 
work known as the Letter of Aristeas, which relates the reception accoided 
the Palestinian translators oE the Pentateuch into Greek by Ptolemy II 
Philadelphia, and some few inscriptions, including dedications of syna- 
gogues to the Ptolemaic king and queen, all indicate that the Jews were 
fairly well treated. This is not surprising in view of the fact that during 
most of this period the Ptolemies also ruled Palestine and Transjordan 
and collected considerable revenue from this Jewish territory, which 
would be erne reason for them to adopt a friendly policy toward the Jews 
in Egypt 

It is true that the apocryphal Iff Maccabees relates the story of a 
persecution by Ptolemy IV Philopator, but modern scholars generally 


agree that whatever historical basis there is for this story must be dated 
at a considerably later time, either the reign of Ptolemy VII Physora, 
with whom Josephus connects this persecution, or that of Ptolemy Lathy- 
rus, who was opposed by the Jewish generals of his mother Cleopatra with 
whom he was at war. Moreover the figure of Ptolemy Philopator in this 
apocryphal book is in part modelled on that of Antiochus Epiphanes in 
// Maccabees and shows that the author was xvriting some time after the 
date when // Maccabees was composed, that is, some time after 100 B.CE. 
As for the alleged bias of the Egyptian historian Manetho who wrote a 
history of Egypt in Greek dining the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, 
we shall consider that work in connection with the discussion of and- 
Semitic literature. 

It may be that Ptolemy VII Physcon, who reigned in the middle of 
the second century B.C.E., was hostile to the Jews for at least a time, 
because a large number of Jews sided with his brother and rival Ptolemy 
VI Philometor, but if so his attitude was based on a definite political 
cause and can hardly be said to reflect a general prejudice against Jews 
as such. A similar motivation lies behind the anti-Jewish attitude of 
Ptolemy Lathyrus, about 100 B.C.E., but in his case the feeling seems to 
have been more violent and general (he was equally hostile to the Jews 
of Palestine) ; he has therefore been called by Bell, the English papyrolo 
gist, "the first representative of political antisemitism." It was probably 
not until his reign that Jews had obtained important political positions 
in Egypt and hence were an element to be reckoned with by a ruler who 
aspired to carry out a program of nationalist absolutism. We know from 
the papyri that a number of Jews had obtained minor posts in the 
Ptolemaic bureaucracy as tax-collectors and customs-inspectors, and it is 
likely that the oppressed natives resented the presence of aliens in these 
unpopular posts with particular bitterness. Moreover, as indicated above, 
at least two Jews, Ananias and Chelkias (in Hebrew, Hananiah and 
Hilkiah), occupied the important office of general in the army of 
Ptolemy's mother, Cleopatra. When in 54 B.C.E. Julius Caesar invaded 
Egypt and was threatened with defeat by an Egyptian force, it was a 
garrison of Jews from the colony at Heliopolis, settled there about 160 
B.C.E. by Onias the refugee High Priest, which came to his aid at the 
bidding of the High Priest Hyrcamis and so made dear to the Egyptians 
how powerful a force the alien minority could be. The favor shown the 


Jews in the diaspora by Caesar and his successors naturally provoked 
a reaction among the natives of the countries subject to Rome, as we shall 
see in the section on Jews under the Roman empire. 

When Alexander's empire was divided into three large areas soon 
after his death, the territories in the East, including Asia Minor and 
Syria, fell to another Macedonian family, that of Seleucus. For a century, 
between 300 and 200 B.C.E., the Seleucids disputed the possessions of 
Palestine proper with the Ptolemies but were forced to leave it to the 
latter, until its final conquest by Antiochus III the Great. From an early 
period there were Jews settled in the Hellenized cities on the coast of 
Asia Minor and in Syria, notably in the capital, Antioch, and our sources 
indicate that they enjoyed much the same special privileges in these cities 
that they did at Alexandria. It is doubtful whether much reliance can be 
placed on the statements of Josephus that the founder of this dynasty, 
Seleucus Nicator, and his immediate successors gave the Jews full citizen 
rights; it is, however, possible that the Jews were granted isopoliteia, that 
is, equality of rights with the Macedonians. This would mean not that 
they had identical rights with the Macedonians but special privileges 
which enabled them to enjoy about the same political and economic 
position that the favored gentile citizens had. The act that in the reign 
of Augustus some of the Ionian cities appealed to Augustus' viceroy, 
Marcus Agrippa, to abrogate the rights and privileges of their Jewish 
communities (which, incidentally, he refused to do) would indicate that 
the Jews had actually been granted such rights in the Seleucid period. 
For the reign of Antiochus III, Josephus cites explicitly certain decrees 
of the king; one is a letter to his governor, Zeuxis, ordering him to trans- 
plant 2,000 Jewish families from Mesopotamia to Phrygia and Lydia, 
where there was a revolt. This letter, the authenticity of which may be 
considered certain, clearly shows that the king regarded the Jews as a 
loyal and stable element of the population. Apparently, like Julius 
Caesar after him, he regarded the Jews as a sort of cement to bind to- 
gether the diverse ethnic elements of his kingdom. Another decree of 
the same king, quoted in full by Josephus, grants certain civic rights to 
the Jews of Jerusalem but with this we need not be concerned. As against 
these probable instances of governmental favor, we must place the attitude 
of the Syrian natives and the Greek citizens of the city-states in the 
Seleucid kingdom, who undoubtedly resented the presence of consider- 


able numbers of Jews, protected in their religious customs and thus 
allowed to remain unassimilated to the culture of the majority. Because 
the culture of the Seleucid cities was higher than that of most Egyptian 
cities, we may suppose that antisemitism was largely based on cultural 
grounds, and found among the ruling classes, whereas in Egypt it was 
more largely social and economic and prevalent among the Egyptian 
natives. However, the imperfectly Hellenized Syrian masses in these 
cities were a potential reservoir of vicious and violent antisemitism, as 
can be seen from the bloody attacks made on the Jews during the first 
century C.E. and after. The unsuccessful attempt of Antiochus Epiphanes 
to Hellenize the Jews of Palestine in 170-168 B.C.E. must have had im- 
mediate consequences on the Jews settled elsewhere in his kingdom. 
The attitude toward the Jews of Seleucid Syria must also have been 
greatly influenced by the fact that under the Hasmoneans the Jews of 
Palestine seized the opportunity presented by the internecine struggles 
of rival claimants to the Seleucid throne to regain their national inde- 
pendence and on several occasions to invade Syrian territory and inflict 
much damage on it. 


After 200 B.G.E. when Rome had disposed of her western rival, 
Carthage, in the second Punic War, she was free to turn her attention 
to the East, and became, in the course of the next two centuries, the 
mistress of the whole Mediterranean world. The first direct contact of 
Jews and Romans took the form of a treaty between them made in the 
time of Judas Maccabaeus, when the Romans were jealous of the 
Seleucids' power and their attempt to seize Egypt, which Rome regarded 
as a protectorate. For that reason Rome was ready to give at least 
nominal support to the small Jewish state which was at war with the 
Seleucids. Of the treatment given the Jewish community in Rome we 
know practically nothing until we come to the time of Cicero. This 
famous Roman orator in 59 B.C.E. delivered a speech in defense of 
Lucius Valerius Flaccus, an ex-governor of the province of Asia (in Asia 
Minor), who had been charged with embezzlement and sacrilege in 
having, among other things, seized money collected by the Jews of that 
province for the temple in Jerusalem. In the course of this speech Cicero 
takes occasion to make a number of unflattering remarks about the Jews, 


especially the Jews of Rome. He calls attention to the danger of stirring 

up the large, united and aggressive Jewish community, as he describes it* 

Next comes the malicious accusation about the gold of the Jews. No 

doubt that is the reason why this case is being tried so near the Aurelian 

terrace. It is this count in the indictment, Laelius, that has made you pick 

out this place, and that is responsible for the crowd about us. You know 

very well how numerous that class is, with what unanimity they act, and 

what strength they exhibit in the political meetings. But I shall frustrate 

their purpose. I shall speak in a low tone, just loud enough for the jury 

to hear. There is no lack of men, as you very well know, to stir these 

fellows up against me and every patriotic citizen; and I have no intention 

of making the task of such mischief-makers lighter by any act of mine. 1 

Cicero also emphasizes Flaccus' merit in interfering with a "foreign 

superstition" and the fact that even when the Jews and Romans were 

at peace, they had nothing in common culturally; now that the Jews 

have opposed the Roman army, during the invasion of Palestine by 

Pompey in 63 B.C.E., there was even less reason for the Romans to 

respect their religious customs. 

Religious scruples, my dear Laelius, are primarily national concerns. 
We have our own, and other states have theirs. And as a matter of fact, 
even while Jerusalem was standing, and the Jews were at peace with us, 
there was very little in common between the religious customs of which 
their rites are examples and those which befit an empire as splendid as 
ours, or a people of our character and dignity. Our ancestral institutions 
are as different from theirs as they well can be. Now, however, there surely 
can be all the less obligation upon us to respect Jewish religious observances 
when the nation has demonstrated in arms what its feelings are toward 
Rome, and has made clear how far it enjoyed divine protection by the 
fact that it has been conquered, scattered, enslaved. 2 

A number of interesting conclusions may be drawn from these references 
to the Jews by Cicero. There was a noticeably large community of Jews 
in Rome in his time. (We are not here concerned with the problem 
whether the majority of them had recently come to Rome as captives of 
Pompey or had been settled in Rome for some time.) They were unitedly 
insistent on having their peculiar customs respected and the Romans 
were contemptuous of these Jewish customs. Even if we make allow- 
ances for the exaggerations and unfair insinuations of a clever lawyer 
desperately pleading for an obviously guilty client, as well as for the 

*Pro Flacco, 66, M. Radin's translation. 
9 Ibid., 67. 


contempt of the upper class Romans for "barbarians" generally, we must 
be impressed by the fact that the Jews in Rome were beginning to incur 
the suspicion of the Romans because of the growth of their community 
in that city and the unanimity of Jewish action in self-defense among the 
Jewish communities of the empire. As for the contempt aroused by 
Jewish religious practices, we have many indications of this in later Latin 
literature, as we shall see below. This contempt was doubtless as openly 
expressed as was that of the Jews for the idolatrous practices of their 
gentile neighbors in the Greek cities, as we see from the Jewish writings 
in Greek which have been preserved, such as The Wisdom of Solomon, 
the Sibylline Oracles, IV Maccabees and other books. 

How far the lower classes in Rome shared this suspicion and contempt 
we have no means of knowing. Apparently the situation was not so bad 
at Rome itself as at Roman Alexandria, because in the former city the 
Jews did not form a privileged class as over against the native population, 
and there seemed not to have been professional antisemites and dema- 
gogues to rouse the passions of the mob against the Jews. 

The Jewish policy of Rome's first emperors such as Julius Caesar and 
Augustus was one of friendly tolerance. Caesar's chief reason for taking 
a friendly interest in them was probably that he felt he owed a debt of 
gratitude to the Jews for the help they had given him during his struggle 
with Pompey. Also, as the German historian Mommsen has pointed out, 
he probably regarded the Jews as politically and economically useful 
because of their international connections. 

The official Roman attitude towards the Jews in the Greek cities of 
the empire is illustrated by a number of decrees of the time of Julius 
Caesar which are preserved in Book XIV of Josephus 9 Antiquities. We 
may cite two of these decrees as examples. 

In the presidency of Artemon, on the first day of the month of Lenaeon, 
Dolabella, Imperator, to the magistrates, council and people of Ephesus 
greeting. Alexander son of Theodoras, the envoy of Hyrcanus, son of 
Alexander, the high priest and ethnarch of the Jews, has explained to me 
that his coreligionists cannot undertake military service because they may 
not bear arms or march on the days of the Sabbath; nor can they obtain 
supplies of the native foods to which they are accustomed. I, therefore, 
like the governors before me, grant them exemption from military service 
and allow them to follow their native customs and to come together for 
sacred holy rites in accordance with their law, and to make offerings for 


their sacrifices; and it is my wish that you write these instructions to the 
various cities. 3 

Decree of the people of Sardis. The following decree was passed by the 
council and people on the motion of the magistrates. Whereas the Jewish 
citizens living in our city have continually received many great privileges 
from the people and have now come before the council and the people 
and have pleaded that as their laws and freedom have been restored to them 
by the Roman Senate and people, they may in accordance with their 
accepted customs come together and have a communal life and adjudicate 
disputes among themselves, and that a place be given them in which they 
may gather together with their wives and children and offer their native 
prayers and sacrifices to God, it has therefore been decreed by the council 
and people that permission shall be given them to come together on stated 
days to do these things which are in accordance with their laws, and also 
that a place shall be set apart by the magistrates for them to build and 
inhabit, such as they may consider suitable for this purpose, and that the 
market-officials of the city shall be charged with the duty of having food 
for them brought in. 4 

Fhese decrees and the others quoted by Josephus show that the Jews 
enjoyed a privileged position in the Hellenistic cities of the Roman 
)rovinces and that the local magistrates were inclined to put difficulties 
n the way of their customary observances but were restrained from doing 
;o by the Roman rulers. These Roman privileges or "immunities," as 
hey may be called in vie;w of their resemblance to the charters issued to 
te Jews by the German emperors in the Middle Ages, furnish another 
Illustration of the situation which existed throughout most of the 
Hellenistic-Roman diaspora, namely, that the Jews were given exceptional 
status in the Hellenistic cities through the special protective interest 
shown in them by the Ptolemaic or Seleucid king or Roman emperor. 
Such charters must have been welcome to the Jewish beneficiaries, but 
at the same time they must have increased the hostility of the gentile popu- 
lations. This anti- Jewish feeling made itself felt in violent conflicts when 
the government was temporarily unable or unwilling to protect the Jews, 
as on several memorable occasions during the first century C.E. in 
Alexandria, Antioch, Caesarea and elsewhere. 


We have a good deal of information about the visible manifestations 

iv, 225 ff. 


of antisemitism in Alexandria during the first century C.E., thanks to 
the detailed accounts of Philo and Josephus, which can be supplemented 
from a number of papyri. And as Alexandria was the center of anti- 
Jewish propaganda during the early imperial era, we may consider this 
community as a sort of sociological laboratory in which to make sufficiently 
accurate observations to warrant our drawing certain conclusions. 

The Jewish settlement in Alexandria was the most populous, wealthy 
and influential group of Jews in the entire diaspora. On the other hand, 
the native Egyptian population was justifiably discontented with its 
treatment by the Romans and was, as a result of this or in addition to 
this, notoriously unstable and turbulent, according to the express evidence 
of ancient writers. As for the Greek population, it had no reason to be 
pleased with Roman rule, especially as the Romans had deprived it of its 
senate, and had forced its magistrates to become largely ornamental. The 
dissatisfaction of both groups must have been greatly heightened when 
Augustus confirmed their Jewish fellow-residents in the rights and 
privileges which they had enjoyed under Ptolemaic rule and gave them 
a measure of self-government through their ethnarch and council of 

Although the Romans were fairly successful in stimulating trade, 
industry and agriculture in Egypt, they inevitably adopted some measures 
which further increased the dissatisfaction of the Greek and Egyptian 
elements. For example, in 20 B.C.E. the Roman governor (praefectus) 
Petronius transferred the property of the Egyptian temples to the state. 
This was deeply resented for nationalistic as well as religious reasons by 
the Egyptians of Alexandria and was the probable cause of the riots which 
occurred there during Petronius' term of office. This resentment must 
have been further increased by the deliberately malicious anti-Jewish 
propaganda spread by demagogues like'Apion, who repeated the un- 
complimentary statements about the Jews made by Manetho in his 
History of Egypt, and improved upon them by adding slanders and in- 
ventions of his own. Although Manetho, writing in the reign of Ptolemy 
Philadelphus (early 3rd century B.C.E.) , could hardly have been a 
professed antisemite, nevertheless his account of the ignoble origin of 
the Jews lent itself to exploitation later by , unscrupulous journalists 
like Apion and Chairemon. 

With the accession to the imperial power of Gaius, popularly known 


as Caligula, in 37 C.E. the ill feeling between gentiles and Jews in 
Alexandria (and in other cities, Caesarea, for example) became acute 
and violent. Here again we have an instance of the usual combination of 
circumstances that produced anti-Jewish outbreaks in antiquity. First 
there is long-smoldering resentment at the privileged social, political 
and economic position of the Jews; this is accompanied by more im- 
mediate resentment of the Jews' refusal to participate in the state cults 
or even to respect the religious beliefs of their gentile neighbors. The 
smoldering fire is whipped into flame by a sudden political manoeuvre 
on the part of the government or a faction in the city. Finally the flame 
is fanned into a blaze by demagogic speeches and pamphlets put out by 
professional anti-Jewish agitators who hope to profit materially from an 
attack on the Jews. The government is sometimes obliged to intervene, 
at least during the first century, to preserve order, penalizing the Jewish 
community for reasons of imperial policy. This is the pattern followed 
by the swiftly moving events which took place in Alexandria during the 
reigns of Caligula and Claudius. 

The details of these riots at Alexandria are probably too well known 
to need repeating here. We may, however, briefly comment on the 
significant aspects of these incidents. Caligula's insistence on being wor- 
shipped as a god and having his statue set up in the temples of various 
dues throughout the empire need not of itself have led to irreconcilable 
conflict between the emperor and the Jews. 5 The Jews might well have 
persuaded him to accept sacrifices for his well-being in the temple of 
Jerusalem, such as were customary, as a substitute for actual worship of 
his image in their temple and synagogues. That this is not mere con- 
jecture is shown by the fact that he eventually dismissed in a half- 
humorously contemptuous fashion the Jewish embassy which came from 
Alexandria to plead with him, remarking that the Jews were not so much 
bad people as unfortunate and stupid in refusing to believe that he was 
a god. The Jewish king Agrippa I had enough personal influence with 
Caligula to persuade him not to take extreme measures against the Jews 
of Alexandria for their failure to erect his statue in their synagogue. 
That Caligula was ready to go to greater lengths with the Jews of Palestine 

A contrary view is expressed by A. D. Nock in the Cambridge Ancient History, voL x, 
where he says that Caligula's attempt to secure divine honon may have been implied by 
irritation with the Jews. 


may be attributable to the distrust he felt of the Roman governor, 
Petronius, who had presumed to intervene on behalf of the Jews in that 
country. In any case the imperial decree merely served the advisers of 
Flaccus, the Roman governor in Egypt, as a pretext to divert the em- 
peror's attention from the fact that they had allowed the Alexandrian 
mob to ridicule and insult his good friend King Agrippa when he arrived 
at Alexandria en route to Palestine. It was the proud behavior and royal 
ceremonial of Agrippa which was the real occasion of the anti-Jewish 
riots that resulted in the loss of Jewish lives and property. And that the 
Roman governor was soon after recalled in disgrace must have seemed to 
the antisemites another instance of the "international Jewish power" 
(to use a favorite phrase of modern antisemites) , while to the Jewish 
theologian, Philo, it seemed merely another instance of divine retribu- 
tion overtaking the oppressors of the innocent Jews. 

How determined was the anti-Jewishness of certain intellectuals in 
Alexandria and how consistently it was maintained for several decades 
is shown by the fact that these same leaders were protesting against the 
imperial toleration of Jewish privileges in the reign of Claudius, and 
that the eventual punishment of some of them for the crime of laesa 
maiestas became the theme of a cycle of martyr-narratives that were 
popular a century later. 


Josephus has left us a very able defense of Jewish culture and morality 
against the attacks of those whom he considered the most formidable 
antisemites. This apologetic work Contra Apionem is valuable, among 
other things, because it has preserved at least fragments of writings about 
the Jews that otherwise might have wholly perished. Josephus covers a 
good deal of ground, and every person who is interested in the both de- 
pressing and fascinating subject of antisemitism would do well to read 
his detailed and unusually ingenious refutation of various calumnies 
about the Jews and his eloquent defense of the morality and soundness 
of the Mosaic law. We cannot examine here the many anti-Jewish charges 
which Josephus shows to be ridiculous and incredible; some of these are 
to the effect that the Jews were originally lepers driven out of Egypt, that 
they had been treacherous to the Ptolemaic kings of Egypt, that they 
sacrificed Greeks in the temple of Jerusalem (this slander was probably 


first circulated by the propagandists of anti-Jewish Seleucid kings like 
Antiochus Epiphanes and some of his successors) , that they worshipped 

. . 

After dealing with such malicious inventions or misconceptions 
Josephus proceeds to deal with the charges made by various pseudo- 
intellectuals such as Apion or Apollonius Molon and even real intellec- 
tuals such as the Stoic philosopher Posidonius of Apamea in Syria (who 
later taught at Rhodes, having Cicero as a pupil) , that the Jews had no 
original culture, that they were merely imitators of the Greeks, that their 
exclusiveness was due to their hatred of non-Jews and that they were 
generally an undesirable element in the Hellenistic-Roman world. These 
charges led Josephus to end his exposition of the Mosaic laws with the 
proud assertion that Judaism is superior to Hellenism and that what is 
good in the latter is of Jewish origin. Josephus was not the first (having 
been anticipated by Alexandrian Jewish writers of the third century 
B.C.E.) but one of the most effective of those apologists who have sought 
to demonstrate that the Jews have made a great "contribution to 

In addition to these excerpts from antisemitic writers preserved in 
Contra Apionem, there are a good many passages concerning the Jews 
in the writings of Greek and Roman historians, philosophers and satirists. 
These have been conveniently collected and edited (with a French trans- 
lation) by the distinguished Jewish classical scholar, Theodore Reinach, 
in his Textes d'auteurs grecs et romains relatifs au Judaisme. Though 
this volume was published in 1895 it is still the most useful and com- 
prehensive collection of references to the Jews in Greek and Latin 

A careful reading of these scattered passages from several centuries 
reveals the predominance of certain anti-Jewish themes, which have 
been correctly stressed by Reinach in the preface to his book, namely the 
social and religious particularism of the Jews. By refusing to allow any 
fusion of Judaism with pagan cults or emperor worship, the Jews made a 
conspicuous exception to the general practice of oriental cults in the 

8 Tills fable was probably based on the much older connection of the god Set* popularly 
but mistakenly represented as an ass, with the Semitic invaders .of ancient Egypt; this 
erroneous conception was reinforced by the resemblance in sound between the Egyptian word 
for ass, yao or the like, and the pronunciation of the Hebrew divine name YHWH as Too 
in Hellenistic 


Hellenistic-Roman world They insisted that their god was the only true 
god, even though he had no visible form which his worshippers could 
point to, unless it were the universe itself. They refused to associate 
freely with their gentile neighbors because the Mosaic laws of ritual 
purity made it impossible for them to do so. This was an attitude which 
alienated the vast majority of pagans, even those who might not have 
resented the political status of the Jews in the cities of the empire. At 
the same time it is interesting to note, as Heinemann has pointed out, 7 
that the very intensity of the Jews' particularism and their imageless cult 
attracted a certain number of pagans, among whom they were active in 
proselytizing. But it should be remembered that their religious and 
social exdusiveness repelled far more than it attracted. And the fact that 
they were successful in winning some converts only increased the resent- 
ment of those pagans who regarded their customs with suspicion and 
contempt. This feeling finds expression in the works of a number of 
ancient writers that have come down to us, including those that men- 
tioned the Jews more or less incidentally and were not professed anti- 
semitic tracts. We have space for quotation from only a few of these. 

Trogus Pompeius was a Roman historian in the age of Augustus. In 
his account of Jewish history in the time of Moses (which has been pre- 
served in the Abridgement of Justinus, a writer of the third century C.E.) , 
he writes as follows: 

And because they remembered that it was through fear of contagion 
that they had been driven out of Egypt, they were fearful lest they should 
be hated by the inhabitants (of Arabia) for the same reason, and took care 
that they should not come into contact with foreigners. And this custom, 
which arose from a specific occasion, he (Moses) gradually changed into 
a fixed institution and religious principle. 

Half a century later the Roman satirist Petronius remarks (with 
several misstatements of fact about Jewish customs) that the Jews are 
very stubborn in insisting on the observance of all their peculiar rites. 

A Jew may adore the swine as a divinity, and appeal to the ears of 
highest heaven; if, however, he does not circumcise himself and get rid of 
his foreskin, he will be cut off from his people and have to migrate to 
Greek cities, where he won't have to observe strictly the laws of fasting 
on the Sabbath. 

* Heinemann, I., 'The Attitude of the Ancient World Toward Judaism," in The Review 
of Religion, voL to (1940) 585-400. 


Another, more famous, satirist, the poet Juvenal, writing in the second 
century C.E., enumerates converts to Judaism among those parents who 
corrupt their children by their example. 

Some have by chance a father who observes the Sabbath. They worship 
nothing but the clouds and the divinity of heaven. They believe that the 
flesh of swine is no different from that of human beings, and so they 
abstain from eating it Next they circumcise themselves. They become 
accustomed to despise Roman laws, and study, observe and revere only 
the Jewish law, whatever Moses has handed down in a secret volume 
namely, to refuse to show a traveler the way unless he is a coreligionist, 
or to lead anyone to a drinking-place unless he is circumcised. And this 
they do because of a father who regards the seventh day as a day of idle- 
ness and does not take part in any of the usual activities of life. 
Like Petronius, Juvenal misunderstands the reason for the refusal 
of the Jews to eat pork. In addition, Petronius shares the common 
misconception that the Jews fasted on the Sabbath. But in spite of these 
inaccuracies, they are probably only exaggerating, not inventing, the 
Jewish attitude of separatism from non-Jews. 

Finally we may quote part of the long passage on the Jews given by 
the great Roman historian, Tacitus, in the fifth book of his History in 
connection with his account of the conquest of Jerusalem by Titus. Here 
we have a bitter condemnation of the Jews which is obviously unfair and 
prejudiced but none the less interesting because it probably represents 
the views of a great many educated Romans in the first century C.E. 

These rites, however they were introduced, are defended on the ground 
of their antiquity. But *he*r other institutions are smfrtfr and shameful 
and have prevailed through their baseness. All the worst elements, scorning 
the religion of their fathers, have flocked to them, bringing tribute and 
offerings. From this has growb the influence of the Jews. Among them- 
selves they show a stubborn loyalty and ready sympathy; but toward all 
outsiders they show hostility and hatred. They do not eat or sleep with 
strangers, and though they are a most libidinous race, they abstain from 
intercourse with foreign women. Among themselves nothing is unlawful. 
They introduced the practise of circumcision in order that they might be 
recognized by this distinguishing mark. Those who are converted to their 
customs observe the same practise. Nor are converts taught anything so 
soon as to despise the gods, to renounce their country, and to hold in 
contempt their parents, children and brothers. 

The "Jewish problem" in antiquity, as in the Middle Ages and in 


modem times, is a particular aspect of the problem of minorities, accentu- 
ated because the Jews were a conspicuous minority. The very qualities 
which gave the Jews inspiration and courage to survive in an alien 
culture of which they disapproved were the qualities that led the gentiles 
to disapprove of them. This disapproval may have existed in varying 
degrees of intensity among the masses, the educated class and the govern- 
ment; but for the reasons we have given all three combined during the 
latter part of the Hellenistic-Roman period in an attempt to force the 
Jews to give up the ancestral customs that set them apart from the 
pagan majority. Judaism continued to be a tolerated cult (rtligio licita) 
in theory for several centuries after the period we have studied; but 
theory and practice sometimes widely diverge. The fact remains that it 
must have been a struggle for most Jews to remain loyal to Judaism 
while living in the cities of the Roman empire. 

This is not the place to inquire fatfr the problem of assimilation or 
to try to determine what proportion of Jews in the diaspora became 
Christians as a result of the missionary activities of Paul and his associates. 
While the early Christians became involved in conflicts with the state and 
were generally regarded with suspicion, as we know from such documents 
as the letter of Pliny to the emperor Trajan and the writings of the 
Christian apostles, converts to the new faith were not outwardly as dis- 
tinct from gentiles as were the Jews. Besides, they offered a religion that 
preserved many of the beliefs and all of the sacred literature of the Jews 
without obliging their adherents at the same rime to., observe all the 
Mosaic practices. It may be conjectured, therefore, that a large number 
of Greek-speaking Jews became Christians. The very fact that Paul com- 
plains so bitterly about Jewish opposition to the new cult which he was 
preaching in the synagogues of the Hellenistic cities indicates that the 
Jewish authorities realized the danger to Judaism of the Christian appeal. 
But for the larger number of Jews who must have remained faithful to 
Judaism, judging from th** reports of conflicts between Christians and 
Jews in the Roman empire during the second and third centuries, the 
same problems of adjustment to the Roman government and Hellenistic 
culture remained* The pattern of antisemitism in antiquity was essen- 
tially the same as that of antisemitism today. 

Our task has been merely to study the historical phenomenon of anti- 
semitism in the Hellenistic-Roman world. But from that study we may 
be permitted to draw some general conclusions of a more philosophical 


nature. An objective appraisal of the various factors involved in this 
complex of social, political, economic, religious and cultural relations 
leads us to recognize that the only solution of the problem, in the sense 
of a lessening of tension between the Jewish and non-Jewish groups, 
seems to be the establishment of an international federation of states in 
which social and economic justice shall prevail, so far as is humanly 
possible, and in which the state will educate the young to believe that 
both individuals and the state are benefited by religious and cultural 
diversity within the framework of a democratic society. 

At the same time it may be argued with considerable force, in view of 
recent events, that cultural pluralism has a better chance to develop more 
freely among federated states than within a single state. If this is true, 
Jewish culture has a better chance to survive in a Jewish national home in 
Palestine than in any part of the diaspora. 



My task is to discuss the rise and development of that spirit of intol- 
erance on the one side and mistrust on the other which has characterized 
the relations between the Christians and the Jews. The period with 
which my discussion is to deal commences with the beginning of the 
Christian religious movement and ends with the period of the Crusades, 
a span of some twelve hundred years of history, marked by the decline 
of the ancient world and the birth of the modern world. I need not 
speak, therefore, of the difficulties involved in such a discussion nor of its 
importance for the understanding of the relationship which, down to our 
own day, has brought no credit to Christianity and much misfortune 
to the Jews. All I need say is that I am under the obvious necessity of 
making the discussion sketchy and omit much of the material which 
might serve to prove the generalization to which a brief paper must be 

The subject falls into three chronological divisions. The end of the 
first division is marked by the destruction of the Jewish state, a great 
turning-point in the history of the Jewish people; the end of the second 
by the emergence of Catholic Christianity armed with secular power 
and placed in a position to enforce its will; the third period covers the 
appearance in Western Europe of certain external forces, non-religious 
in their nature, which made the enforcement of the Church's attitude 
not only potential but actual. 

During the first period, while the Jewish state was still in existence, 
there is no convincing evidence that any real antagonism existed on the 
part of the Christians to Jews and Judaism. There was, however, some 
measure of antagonism on the part of the Jews to Christianity. Neither 
Jesus nor Paul nor their immediate disciples wished to see the Jewish 
people degraded and destroyed. With regard to Jesus, present-day studies 
of the synoptic Gospels seem to indicate that his preaching was motivated 
by quite the contrary of antagonism towards Jews and Judaism. Not 
dislike for the Jews nor a desire to reject Judaism but rather faith in the 



divine call of the people and a desire to extend and deepen the ethical 
implications of Judaism, forced Jesus to criticize hypocrisy, speak against 
burdensome legislation and try to abolish whatever marred the beauty of 
the Temple worship. Not in hatred but in love for Judaism was Chris- 
tianity born. 

It is equally clear that the first generation of Christians was not an- 
tagonistic to Jews. They were themselves considered pious Jews. They 
frequented the Temple and even fought to have the new faith limited 
to Jews or, what amounted to the same thing, to such gentiles as adopted 
a thoroughgoing observance of Judaism. When they finally consented 
to admit gentiles into the fellowship of believers in the resurrected 
Messiah they did so on the same basis as Jews were at that time admitting 
gentiles into the category of "those who feared the Lord." Such -gentiles 
were to abstain from the grosser vices of paganism and were to be con- 
sidered candidates for eventual absorption into the fellowship of those 
who observed the entire ceremonial. The Jewish Christians completely 
broke with Paul when they discovered that he was making no distinction 
between gentile and Jew. It is usually pointed out that the beginnings 
of a change in their attitude may be seen in their refusal to take part in 
the national uprising against Rome. But while it is true that by this 
time a second generation of converts was in the ascendant and the in- 
fluence of gentile Christians felt, nevertheless, the withdrawal of the 
Judeo-Christians from Jerusalem may just as well have been due to the 
same spirit of non-nationalism which at that very time prevailed in many 
other circles among the Jews in Palestine and, especially, outside of 
Palestine. For there is good reason to believe that the majority of the 
Christians of that age were Jews from the Hellenistic diaspora rather 
than Palestinians, and at this time the diaspora Jews were lukewarm 
toward the nationalist strivings of Judea. 

The attitude of Paul, while not so dear, nevertheless reveals no Evidence 
of hostility to Jews. To be sure, he had harsh words for "the Law" and 
its efficacy for salvation, statements which were destined to cause trouble, 
yet he called the Law "holy, just and good," and he proudly admitted his 
descent from the Jewish people. In fact, he so broadened the term "Jew" 
as to include in it, as an honorable fellowship, all those who transformed 
their life by being faithful Christians. Nowhere did he suggest that the 
Jewish state should be destroyed or that Christians should be unfriendly 
to Jews. Christianity was to be above nationalism. It is fairly safe to 


say that if Paul's attitude had continued to predominate in Christian 
circles there would have been no anti-Jewishness in the Church. 

If there was any antagonism at that time, it showed itself among the 
Jews toward the Christians. It was not, however, against Christianity as 
such nor against Christians, gentile or Jewish, that such antagonism was 
displayed, but rather against people who violated one or another of the 
institutions considered sacred in Jewish life. It is useless to be drawn 
here into an argument concerning the execution of Jesus; to excuse, 
commend, or regret it. The story as the New Testament tells it, and there 
is no other source, is too confused and shows too many signs of having 
been told to suit a later generation. What is certain is that Jesus did not 
die because he was a Christian. Subsequent examples of Jewish hostility 
are more to the point although even there the story told in the Book of 
Acts offers too little material of a credible nature to make possible any 
definite conclusions. In the examples of violence done to Christians 
those chiefly to blame are the upper classes, those who feared for the 
status quo. The mass of the people was neither hostile nor well-disposed. 
Rather it was both, depending upon the mass emotion of the moment. 
The most important persecution was led by the impassioned orator Paul, 
while on another occasion harm to a Christian was discouraged by the 
leading Pharisee, Gamaliel. It is also noteworthy that in practically every 
instance the anger of the Jews was aroused not by the belief in Jesus as the 
resurrected Messiah as much as by some definite statement of a leader 
of the Christians which -was interpreted as blasphemy. There is still 
another noteworthy angle to these examples of hostility, namely, that 
most of them emanated from diaspora Jews and were directed against 
diaspora Jews. It is therefore necessary to consider the problem of the 
Jews in the diaspora. 

For generations, if not centuries, before the rise of Christianity, the 
Jews of the diaspora had been carrying on propaganda in favor of 
Judaism. Not only their arguments but their very manner of living, by 
its obvious moral superiority to that of pagans, gained for them many 
adherents and even more sympathizers. Even if the actual number of 
converts to Judaism was not as great as some suppose, the Jews did suc- 
ceed in impressing the pagans with the dignity of their faith and with 
their claims of being the favored people of a mighty God. Before the 
Jewish state was destroyed there seems to have been a widespread feeling 
in the East that a great redeemer would come out of Judea. In any event, 


there existed a deep understanding of the possibility of making Judaism 
a cosmopolitan religion and a great desire to bring this to pass. This is 
what probably accounts for the psychological transformation of Paul. 
Most diaspora Jews shared his anxiety to bring to the gentile world the 
fundamental morality and ethics of Judaism. What they refused to give 
up was the uniqueness of Israel in the scheme of salvation. Not through 
belief in one man, even though that man happened to be a Jew, was 
redemption possible, but through faith in a religious society. That is why 
the Jews of Judea, living as a compact group and fully confident of the 
continuity of their group, were not the first to attack Stephen. He was 
a diaspora Jew and so were those who attacked him for placing Jesus 
higher than the Temple. That is why Paul led the first persecution of 
the Christians, during wKich the diaspora Jews were made to scatter from 
Jerusalem while the native Judeans were allowed to remain. That, too, 
is why Paul later found so much opposition in the diaspora. The perse- 
cution of the Christians by the Jews is thus seen to have been sporadic 
and merely defensive. Nor did it last for any length of time. 

The destruction of the Jewish state in 70 C.E. had two results. One 
was that the Jewish people lost prestige in the pagan world so that prose- 
lytization became more difficult. The other result was that the Jews 
became more preoccupied with themselves. Their chief problem was 
now one of self-preservation. This they tried to achieve by several new 
and disastrous revolts against Roman authority and by placing greater 
emphasis than ever upon the laws and traditions of the group. It was 
during this period that the rabbis bent their efforts to create internal 
unity and this meant the ejection from the Jewish fold of all who sub- 
scribed to Christian ideas. They forbade the reading of the many biogra- 
phies of Jesus then current among the masses of the Jews in Palestine 
and introduced into the public worship a prayer against sectaries. By 
the year 135 the process of ejecting the new sect from participation in 
Jewish life was complete and antagonism to Christianity took on a differ- 
ent color. 

In the meantime, between the year 70 and 135, the Christians were 
undergoing a radical transformation which laid the foundations for their 
attitude toward the Jews thereafter. Christianity became a definitely' 
gentile movement. The date when that happened is still a moot question. 
The fact that seemingly earlier portions of the New Testament are clearly 
marked with the gentile, or rather and- Jewish point of view, is no proof 


that that point of view prevailed in Christian circles during this early 
period. It has been pointed out that the Gospels and the Book of Acts are 
not history but propaganda for Christianity. These particular books 
were chosen from a large number of similar books and, very likely, from 
different versions of the same books. They therefore indicate more about 
the attitude of the generation which adopted them into the Christian 
canon than about the generation during which they were presumably 
written down. All one can say is that by the year 100, when the Gospel 
of John was written, there is already evident an unmistakable tendency 
in Christian circles toward dislike of the Jewish people. By the year 140, 
when Justin had his colloquy with Trypho, there was a definite movement 
toward the exclusion from Christian circles of the same Judeo-Christians 
whom the Jewish people had excluded from their own ranks. Salvation 
through a religious society was opposed, and even Paul's theory of the 
intimate relationship between faith in Jesus and moral regeneration was 
made far subordinate to individual salvation through the resurrected 
Christ. Judaism and Christianity now became two distinct religions and 
anti-Jewishness became a matter of Christian policy. 

It is important to emphasize that this anti-Jewish policy did not develop 
in retaliation for the anti-Christian feeling among the Jews, since the 
comparatively mild persecution in which the Jews had indulged had never 
been directed against gentile Christians. The real reasons for this policy 
were more basic to the development of the new religion. Judaism was 
already then an ancient religion, possessed of a great literature, with great 
heroes and wise men in its past, and a divine promise of an even more 
glorious future. Christianity possessed none of these. From the very out- 
set, therefore, the Christians laid claim to the Bible, at first merely as 
predicting Jesus and later as being exclusively their own. It seems likely 
that one of the first writings of the Christians was a collection of Old 
Testament passages which were supposed to refer to the story of Jesus. 
Within a comparatively short time, as allegorical explanations in the 
Christian sense became extended to even greater portions of Biblical 
literature, the entire, collection was declared to have been meant for the 
Christians. Jewish eyes, which did not see in the Bible what the Christians 
saw in it, were said to be covered by a veil which prevented them from 
perceiving the true interpretation of the sacred books. Within several 
generations the Christians also laid claim to being the true Israel, the one 
to whom God's promise really referred. Now the least that such claims 


called for was proof that physical Israel had been rejected. Hence fol- 
lowed the loading upon the shoulders of the Jews of all that was wicked; 
hence the extension to all the Jews and the exaggeration of the evils 
with which Jesus had charged some of them and the placing upon 
them of the guilt for his execution. Moreover, in the misfortunes 
of the Jewish people, in the dissolution of the state and in subsequent 
Jewish defeats, the Christians found definite confirmation of their belief 
that God was displeased with the Jews and no longer wanted the con- 
tinuance of the people. 

These theological causes are not the only ones, however, to account for 
the anti-Jewishness of the early Church Fathers. It seems unhistorical 
to argue that the dislike of the Jews which had displayed itself among the 
pagans in Egypt and Western Asia did not carry over into the circles of 
gentile Christianity. On the contrary, Christianity could profit from this 
dislike. For, whereas Judaism in its efforts at proselytization had to over- 
come this feeling among the pagans, Christianity afforded an additional 
excuse for indulging it. Christianity enabled the Jew-hating pagan to 
deny Jewish pretensions and to turn the Scriptures, which the Jews had 
used so effectively against the gentiles, against the Jews themselves. It is 
significant that these early heretical movements within Christianity which 
erred on the side of paganism were rabidly anti-Jewish. Marcionism and 
Gnosticism, for example, rejected the Old Testament completely and 
scoffed at the God of the Jews. It was, therefore, not so much pro- 
Romanism which accounted for the exoneration of Rome from the guilt 
involved in the execution of Jesus but "pro-gentilism." The very adoption 
of the New Testament has been laid to a fear lest sole reliance upon the 
Old Testament give too much prominence to the Jews. 

From what has already been said, it should be dear that anti-Jewishness 
early became a necessary element in Christian theology. In the succeeding 
few centuries this necessity was by no means obviated, since the Jews were 
not yet as timid as they became later and did not hesitate to defend their 
position and carry the theological attack into Christianity itself. That the 
Jews were really actively in alliance with the pagans during the Roman 
persecution of the Christians is a matter open to doubt. But that the Jews 
were not sorry to see these persecutions may be assumed even though 
Jewish sources are silent about it It is dear that as Christianity became 
an increasing menace to Roman paganism the pagans saw no menace in 
Judaism and treated the Jews with a degree of consideration which con- 


trasted sharply with their attitude toward Christians. 

Moreover, the Jews continued to be the rivals of the Christians for 
converts from paganism. This was not so much the case in Palestine, where 
the Jews were poor and depressed because of economic and political mis- 
fortune. It was so, however, in the diaspora, where the situation of the 
Jews had taken a distinct turn for the better, perhaps for the very reason 
that they were no longer considered dangerous rivals in any field. The 
numerous disputations between Jews and Christians of which the Church 
speaks bear witness to the feeling of the Jews that^they had not been de- 
feated. Nor did the Jews hesitate to offer a version of their own of the 
birth and personality of Jesus, a version which was, by no means flattering 
to the founder of the Christian faith. The existence of a danger to Chris- 
tianity from the position and influence of the Jews is indicated above all 
in the legislation of the Church councils during the early centuries of the 
Christian era. There one may see the great desire of the Christians to 
have their adherents break all relations with the Jews. Judging by what 
these councils forbade, it would seem that the leaders of the Church were 
not finding it so easy to convince their followers that the Jewish people 
had been rejected and that the Old Testament is to be read allegorically 
and not literally. Many Christians observed the Jewish Sabbath, ate 
mazzot on the Jewish Passover and frequented the synagogue. The entire 
situation caused a redoubling of the efforts made by the Church Fathers 
against the Jews. There was hardly a reference to the Jews which was not 
qualified with a disparaging statement. They were described as adoring 
not God but angels; Judaism was called "a sad and cold religion"; Jews 
were lazy; they were atheists; they were misanthropic, useless, seditious, 
obstinate, bold, cowards, sensual, greedy, a nation oi slaves, and so on 
and on. It is noteworthy that many of these characterizations were taken 
over from ancient pagan authors. 

One result of the situation at* this time deserves particular attention. 
Clannishness has been a favorite charge against the Jews down to the 
present day. If it means anything at all it is a repetition of the ancient 
accusation that Jewish law makes it impossible for the Jew to have intimate 
social relationship with gentiles. As we have just seen, this was not the 
case in ancient times. The admission of God-fearing pagans and Christians 
to the synagogues, the fact that Christians had to be discouraged from 
going to Jewish homes to eat and from associating with them in other 
ways, would seem to prove that not the Jews, but the Christians were ex- 


elusive. To be sure, the Jews would not eat at the home of a gentile or 
drink wine which a gentile had touched. What is frequently overlooked, 
however, is that the early Christians had regulations to practically the 
same effect with regard to pagans who used to begin their meals with a 
libation, so that Christians too were accused of being misanthropic and 
unsocial. With respect to the Jews, it was the Church that broke off social 
ties and after the pagans had disappeared it looked as though the Jews 
were the only ones who remained a group apart. 

By the fourth century the ultimate triumph of the Church in pagan 
society was fairly well assured. By the second quarter of the century its 
triumph over the imperial power was achieved. But its internal struggles 
for theological unity were by no means over. The bitter dispute between 
the Arians and the Athanasians were to dominate that century and extend 
for several centuries longer. It marked the last straggle between paganism 
and the monotheism which orthodox Christianity attained. From the 
point of view of the Jews, the dispute was important because the Jews 
seemed to have hoped for the triumph of Anus, and because throughout 
the existence of the Arian heresy the peoples who adhered to it were 
favorably disposed to the Jews. Why they sympathized with Arius is 
rather obscure. Nor is it dear how the Jews could have aided the Arian 
cause, unless it was through intrigue on the part of a few influential Jews 
who had access to the palace. The fact is, however, that the Jews came to 
be numbered among the persecutors of Athanasius. As time went on this 
was exaggerated and combined with similarly exaggerated stories of Jewish 
participation in the persecution of Christians and the fostering of heresy 
in the Church. For there had been, and there continued to be other 
heresies of the Judaising kind, whose adherents were not so hostile to 
Judaism as was expected of an orthodox believer. Perhaps the real ex- 
planation for this sympathy, as of the greater favor subsequently shown 
by the Arian barbarian peoples, lies in the natural affinity of minority 
groups. The net effect, however, upon the Catholic Church was to make 
it axiomatic that Judaism was a great and dangerous enemy, open when 
it dared to be, 'secret when it could be, quiescent when no opportunity 
offered itself and when the Church had the upper hand. 

The favor shown to the Jews by Julian the Apostate served to strengthen 
this belief among the Christians. Subsequent Church historians never 
tired of pointing out the dose alliance between Julian and the Jews and 
the joy of the Jews at the prospect of having the Temple rebuilt with the 


huge sums which they collected for the purpose. The exaggerations in 
these tales were obviously intended for the purpose of making the victory 
of the Church more outstanding and the miracle more impressive. The 
stories took hold, however, and further force was given to the identifica- 
tion of the Jews with the enemy of the Church by the constant repetition 
of this charge by the Church Fathers. We may cite the case of Chrysostom 
as an example. No one attacked the Jews more bitterly than did the great 
orator, Chrysostom. The relations between Jews and Christians in An- 
tioch, even as late as the second half of the fourth century, were as de- 
scribed above. The Christians of Antioch did not hate the Jews; they 
maintained social relations with them and considered the synagogue a par- 
ticularly sacred place in which to take an oath. Against such a state of 
affairs Chrysostom felt obliged to use his golden mouth. Orators have 
always been a plague to the Jewish people. Exaggeration and generaliza- 
tion are of the very essence of oratory. When heard, the effects of such 
statements are sometimes mitigated by facts known to the audience. They 
become more dangerous when written down and read by a later genera- 
tion. Thus Chrysostom's influence upon later ages was even greater than 
upon his own. He was read and quoted His exaggerations and similes 
became not only facts but articles of faith. 

Thus the whole gainut of accusations made in the heat of conflict during 
the early period of Christianity became fixed through constant repetition 
on the part of people who could have had but scant acquaintance with 
Jews. Let us take one such accusation and trace its development. In the 
Gospel of John (8.44) Jesus is made to say to the Jews: "Ye are of your 
father the devil." This is obviously a metaphorical phrase. But it was 
often repeated, and through Jerome, Athanasius, Ambrose, and sometime 
later Amulo of Lyons, it is possible to trace the development of the idea 
into that of temptation by the devil (who was a real personality all through 
the ages) , partnership with the devil, and finally willing slaves and instru- 
ments of the devil. When, therefore, during the Crusading age and later 
a Christian wanted to strike a blow at the devil, he could obviously do so 
by striking at a Jew. 

What I have tried to point out so far is that by the time Christianity 
became the dominant religion of the Empire, the foundation for its atti- 
tude toward the Jews was already laid. This attitude, moreover, was the 
natural outcome of theological necessity and of defense against the danger 
of a relapse into Judaism. It was an inevitable by-product of Christian 


propaganda, which had to assume that Judaism was dead while Judaism 
refused to die. The Christian Church never recognized that Judaism was 
a different religion; it saw Judaism as a distortion of the only true religion, 
a perfidia, a stubborn rebelliousness against God. The very term "Jew" 
assumed a new and evil connotation. Whereas in the first century the 
founders of Christianity claimed that name for themselves, in the fifth 
century it was already an insulting term, for which, in pleasanter moments, 
the term "Hebrew" was substituted. 

Later ages merely solidified the attitude and tried to apply it, sometimes 
with more and at other times with less success. What I should like to point 
out now is that this success or failure depended not so much upon the 
zeal of the clergy of the day, although that too was a factor of no mean 
significance, as upon the nature of the ruler, the state of the land he ruled 
and the economic position of the Jews. For, although in theory, as de- 
veloped especially by Augustine, the Church claimed superiority over the 
state, in practise such superiority was exercised during but a few brief 
periods in the history of Christianity. Certainly till the definite establish- 
ment of the supremacy of the bishop of Rome, the emperors at Con- 
stantinople used the Church rather than permitted themselves to be its 
instruments. It is quite clear, as Juster points out, that the hand of the 
bishops began to guide the pen of the emperors at once after the triumph 
of Christianity. But it must be admitted that occasionally the hand was 
shaken off. Ambrose successfully defended the destruction of synagogues; 
the code of Theodosius set the example for the degradation of the Jews; 
the influence of the clergy obtained the discontinuance of the patriarchate 
in Palestine; Cyril of Alexandria, who called the Jews a vicious lot, or- 
ganized pogroms so efficient as to destroy the Jewish community of Egypt 
and went unpunished. Nevertheless, it is equally significant that there 
were still Jews left in the Eastern Roman empire, that they had permission 
to live in accordance with their own civil law, that Judaism continued to 
be a religion permitted to its adherents and the synagogues were protected 
and conversion to Christianity made rather difficult. What explains this 
dual policy? In the first place, Roman law had something of the sacred 
about it; emperors did not willingly break with the past. They might 
modify the old status or withhold certain privileges but the basic ideas 
which made the empire continuous were not destroyed. The basic right 
of Judaism to exist was not tampered with. Secondly, the Jews of that day, 
especially where they were to be found in any numbers, were far from 
being a pacifist group. Especially in the East, where they could join hands 


with the Persians, the emperors did not dare to make their life too difficult. 
Besides, not all the emperors needed, nor did all of them seek the co- 
operation of the clergy in bringing about greater unity within the empire. 
Finally, the Jews were still an economic class of some importance. Some 
of them owned ships which sailed the Mediterranean; they engaged in 
import and export, and on occasion they could make themselves heard at 
the imperial court. 

There was still another theory developed by the Church to which some 
of the credit for the survival of the Jews has been attributed. This theory 
is based on the Biblical statement that Israel is indestructible. The state- 
ments to this effect were emphasized by Paul, who interpreted them in the 
sense that a saving remnant would come to recognize Jesus. From this the 
Church subsequently drew the conclusion that the Jewish people must not 
be completely destroyed. The world needs them for a double purpose: 
to prove by their very rrfatmce that the story told in the Bible was true, 
itiht i to ivf o^vc vfy tuieir ^ * T? KYfcB tff ctyn.vcTSi.oiLt. t ^ actual PTHT ii i ^ T^I ot tF^^ 
Church. In the meantime, they were to wander over the face of the earth, 
even as Cain wandered in punishment for slaying his brother. Augustine 
worked out the formula in this fashion. "Cain was not killed," he ex- 
claimed, "but was cursed through the land which swallowed the blood 
of his brother." Cain, he proceeds to explain, is the Jewish people, and 
the land through which he is cursed is the Christian Church. One corol- 
lary of all this was that the Jews must not be terrorized into accepting 
Christianity but must be led to see the light. In later years, great church- 
men certainly invoked t*hi principle to defend th^ Jews. Notable among 
these were Gregory the Great, at the end of the sixth century, and Bernard 
of Qairvanx, during the second Crusade. But there were innumerable 
other churchmen who seem to have felt that a smaller remnant would 
suffice. In general, one cannot escape the feeling that the fact of Jewish 
survival gave rise to the theory, rather than that the theory of the "re 

to be saved" was the cause of Jewish survival. This principle, however, 
had another corollary, namely, that if the Jews are to live as a proof and 
an example, they must not enjoy their life. No power was to be entrusted 
to them lest they corrupt the Christian world. Misery and misfortune 
was to be their lot as becomes subjects who rebelled against their Lord. 

The test of the period under fliyrmpngon affords illustrative material of 
the working out of Church theories in a world which was willing to accept 
the personal salvation offered by the Church but not often the social impli- 
cations oC Christianity . We turn to Spain. One first hears of the relations 


between the Jews and Christians of that land through conciliar decrees 
which forbid social intercourse with Jews. The success of such decrees was 
scant. For centuries the Jews lived in peace in the land, both under 
Roman rule and under that of the Visigoths. Toward the end of the sixth 
century, however, the Visigothic king became a Catholic and the situation 
for the Jews changed at once. During a little more than a century the 
laws against the Jews and Judaism became increasingly severe until con- 
version or death were the only alternatives. The only reason that the 
Jews survived even this century was the fact that not all of the kings 
showed equal zeal. The entire situation is explainable on the basis of the 
internal political conditions of the Visigothic state and the economic 
power of the Jews. Had not most of the kings of this century sought to 
strengthen their own position at the expense of that of the Visigothic 
nobility they would not have sought the alliance of the Catholic Church 
to which the majority of the population belonged. This union of Church 
and state was sealed under promise of the state to carry on the Church's 
war against the Jews. But the Jews were socially and economically a fairly 
strong group. The weight of their influence was thrown on the side of 
the forces of decentralization and this enabled them to survive for several 
generations. But it is not likely that they would have survived much 
longer against the powerful combination of Church and state. The arrival 
of the Moslems gave them a new lease on life. 

The other examples of how the Church's attitude was realized through 
external factors lies in the history of the Prankish empire and its suc- 
cessors. In Gaul, as in Spain, the need for defending Christianity against 
the lure which Judaism had for many sections of the population led to 
any number of conciliar expressions which urged the need for social 
separation between Jews and Christians. The Church theory of Jewish 
inferiority was evidently far from a reality. Under King Dagobert, to be 
sure, there was a moment when the Church had sufficient personal in- 
fluence with the king to bring about an expulsion of the Jews in 629. 
Just how widespread this expulsion was has not yet been made dear. 
For a century and a half the Jews are not heard of in the Prankish king- 
dom. But they appear again in the days of Charlemagne none the worse 
for the previous event. There is a moment during the ninth century 
when we get a clear view of them and their position. Lyons was one of 
the most prominent and commercially most prosperous sections of Europe 
of that day. Its bishop around 830 was Agobard, an earnest and zealous 
churchman, well-read in the writings of the Fathers. He sensed danger 


in the relations between his flock and the Jews of the city. For not only 
were the Jews not in the inferior status to which the theory of the Church 
assigned them; they were the most important merchants, both local and 
international, they attracted the society of Christians and their religion 
was looked upon with respect. Agobard tried to destroy their influence. 
He brought charges against them before King Louis the Pious but lost 
his case. The king protected the Jews and their life went on unhindered. 

It was not until the twelfth century, in the age of the Crusades, that a 
definite situation arose which indicated to what extent the mind of the 
Christians had changed with regard to the Jews. It is not the physical 
attacks upon them to which attention need be drawn; these can be ex- 
plained on the basis of the greed of the unorganized hordes and the im- 
passioned oratory of ambitious leaders. The important element in the 
situation is that during this period began the process of the definite rele- 
gation of the Jews to an inferior social and political status. This was the 
age when the charges of usury, desecration of the host, and ritual murder 
began to be levelled against them and used as excuses for local attacks. 
Their position became insecure, so that they more or less acquiesced in 
the new status of being the personal property of the local prince, the king, 
or the emperor. By the end of the twelfth century, the entire calendar of 
Church theories with regard to the Jews obtained practical reality. The 
fourth Lateran Council drew the logical conclusions from these theories 
and the existing state of affairs when it marked the Jews as social outcasts 
by branding them with the Jewish badge. Total expulsion from various 
countries and expulsion from society, i.e., the ghetto, were but a single 
step beyond this. 

What accounts for the tremendous difference between the days of 
Agobard and those of Innocent III? The answer does not lie solely in the 
Church and its theology. The Church, to be sure, had become better 
organized; it had gained in learning and prestige. But any real need on 
its part further to combat Judaism no longer existed. The Jews did stand 
out in the midst of a Catholic population and thereby proved the possi- 
bility of another faith. I am inclined to doubt, however, that they any 
longer had any such influence on the growth of heretical Christian move- 
ments as we are sometimes inclined to assume. The vast majority of 
Christians had become quite persuaded of the inferiority of Judaism. 
The Church, especially the lower clergy, continued to hammer away at 
the subject, not because of theological necessity but because it was a 
popular thing to do, and profitable both financially and politically. 


Another difference between the ninth and the thirteenth centuries 
which aggravated the position of the Jew lies in the fact that racial uni- 
fication in the various lands of Europe was now complete. From this 
unity the Jews had excluded themselves by refusing to become Christians. 
They were thus a marked group, welcome only when their social useful- 
ness was obvious but blamed for every conceivable and inconceivable 
ill as soon as their usefulness was no longer obvious. 

It is in this question of the social usefulness of the Jews, or rather the 
obviousness of that usefulness, that the basic reason, although not the 
only reason, must be sought for the change in the Jewish status. In the 
ninth century the Jews were the outstanding commercial class and, there- 
fore, socially indispensable. By the end of the early Middle Ages a Chris- 
tian merchant class had taken the place of the Jews. To the extent to 
which Jews were still merchants, they were the competitors of Christians 
who could claim that an alien and theologically damned race was uselessly 
duplicating their efforts. Because of this and other reasons, the Jews had 
in the meantime entered the business of moneylending. But, unfortu- 
nately, some centuries were yet to pass before the social usefulness of this 
business would be universally recognized. In the meantime, it merely 
served to arouse against the Jews the natural dislike of the debtor for the 
creditor, and to stir the greed of all classes including the kings for the 
wealth which the Jews were supposed to have. Thus the Jewish group 
seemed alien in spite of its having lived for centuries in many of the 
countries involved; it seemed economically unnecessary in spite of the 
fact that it had contributed and was still contributing to the economic 
development of Western Europe, and, undefended because of the still 
inadequate powers of the central government, it had against it the power- 
ful opposition of the Christian Church. 

The last-named opposition lent a certain dignity and virtue to the hatred 
which all the causes combined to instill. The popes of those ages fre- 
quently recognized that Christianity was being misused to cover up the 
greed and violence from which the Jews had to suffer. But the voices 
raised in the defense of the Jews were weak compared to the power of 
official Church theory and local Church practise which made for their 
degradation. A theology which was no longer necessary, a greed which 
cloaked itself in piety and mental habits fostered by fanaticism could now 
revel in their triumph. 


It is a well-known fact that art in Middle Ages, like so many other 
disciplines, was chiefly religious, 1 ancillary and subservient to the all- 
powerful ecclesia, and consequently it reflected the ideas and ideals of 
the regnant Catholic Church. Now since this Church is known to have 
been antagonistic and hostile to the Jews, it is not at all surprising that 
art, its proteg, should have proved anything but sympathetic to them. 
And indeed we find art playing a very important role in disseminating 
distorted conceptions and false notions of the Jews, often depicting them 
in unnatural colors and derogatory poses, sometimes even as frightful 
monsters without any redeeming virtues. The artists thus helped to fen 
the bias and hatred of the populace, who knew them for the most part 
from these misrepresentations and caricatures and not from close personal 
contact. In an age of rampant ecclesiasticism and furious sacerdotalism, 
when reason was garrotted and superstition held full sway, it was not 
unnatural that art should contribute its share in formulating and pro- 
mulgating the well-known myth of His Satanic Majesty, the medieval Jew. 

The artists took their cue, as usual, from the literature of their day, 
from the popular rhymes and epigrams, the liturgical anthems and hymns, 
the polemical sermons and addresses, the miracle and passion plays, all of 
which were saturated with Judeophobia of the crassest kind. 2 In keeping 
with the custom of those days, when graphic arts were still of a narrative 
and expository character, they even appended some of these abusive texts 
in the form of streamers as a commentary to their already offensive crea- 

a Even when the sensitive artists felt like indulging their imagination in secular and 
unholy subjects, such as robust nudes of creamy coloration and velvety skin, they flaunted 
them on their canvases in the form, of holy Biblical characters. Witness the saints of Fra 
Angelico, the Cherubs of Correggio, the Madonnas of Raphael, the Sibyls of Michelangelo, etc. 

2 See Weber, Paul, Geistliches Schauspiel und kirchliche Kunst (Stuttgart 1894) p. 24 ff.; 
Male, mile, UArt religieux du Xlle siecle en France (Paris 1922) p. 121 ff. Comp. also 
Pflaum, Heinz, "Les Scenes de Juifs dans la litterature dramatique du Moyen-Age," in 
Revue des tudes Juives, vol. Ixxxix (1930) 111-34; Strumpf, D., Die Juden in der mittel- 
alterlichen Mysterien- Mirakel- und Moralitdtenliteratur Frankreichs (Heidelberg 1920) . For 
a general discussion see Chambers, E. K., The Mediaeval Stage (Oxford 1903) vol. ii, p. 1-67. 
It is significant that passion plays were stopped in Rome in 1539 because after each per- 
formance the populace sacked the Jewish quarter there; see Vatasso, Marco, Per la Staria del 
Dramma Sacro in Italia (Rome 1903) . 



tions. The work of chisel and brush was not sufficient to vilify the dreaded 
enemy, so the pen too was called into action. This furious and concerted 
attack endured to the close of the medieval period, and even became 
intensified through the invention of printing in the middle of the fifteenth 

One of the most powerful motifs of this controversial medieval art 
was the juxtaposition of the Church and the Synagogue in the form of 
two female figures, one glorious and victorious, the other downcast and 
depressed. The figure symbolizing the Christian Church generally wears 
a crown, holds in one hand a chalice, the pledge of communion with her 
Lord, and in the other hand a cross, the symbol of her faith and power. 
The figure symbolizing the Synagogue is in mourning garb and blinded, 
a veil being over her eyes; the crown fallen from her head, she bears in 
one hand the tables of the Law, in the other a drooping banner on a 
broken staff. Sometimes the tables of the Law lie scattered at her feet. 
In one instance, at Saint-Denis on the Seine, which is famed for its stained 
glass windows, Jesus is pictured standing between the Church and the 
Synagogue, crowning with his right hand the former while tearing off 
with his left the veil which covers the face of the latter. A Latin verse 
explains the medallion thus: quod Moyses velat Christi doctrina revelat, 
"what Moses covers with a veil is revealed by the teaching of Christ." 
This is but a rephrasing of St. Augustine's famous dictum, "the Old 
Testament is nothing but the New covered with a veil and the New 
Testament is nothing but the Old revealed" (Civitas Dei, XVI, 26) . In 
another instance, on a window of the famous Bourges cathedral, the 
Church, crowned, stands on the right of crucified Jesus and receives in a 
chalice the blood trickling from his open wound, while the Synagogue, 
blinded, stands on the left and lets the crown fall off her head and the 
tables of the Law from her hands. This motif, which cropped up first 
in the ninth and continued until the sixteenth century throughout Central 
Europe, has been definitely traced to the early Christian lituigy and 
sermon and to the somewhat later mystery play. 8 It is based on the 
common disputation between the Church and the Synagogue in the early 
days of Christianity, when the argument of superiority and inferiority 

See Weber, op. cit., where all the information on this subject has been collected very 
diligently and with a certain degree of finality. See also Mile, op. cit., p. 166, and I/Art 
rcligfeux du Xllle sieclejn France (Paris 1902} p. 225; further Hildenfinger, P., "La Figure 
de la synagogue dans Tart du Moyen Age," in Revue des Etudes Juives, vol. xlvii (1903) 187 ff.; 
Singer, Charles, "Allegorical Representation of the Synagogue in a Twelfth-Century niumi- 


was thrust back and forth with great acerbity and its echo resounded in 
pulpit and prayer book. The first disputation of this sort between the 
Church and the Synagogue is found in a Syriac hymn in the form of a 
dialogue, the author of which is perhaps St. Ephraim (306-378) .* In 
Europe this disputation was introduced through a pamphlet entitled De 
altercatione Ecclesiae et Synagogue dialogus, ascribed to St. Augustine 
but probably composed by someone else. 5 Side by side with this dialogue, 
a sermon was current under the title Sermo beati Augustini contra 
Paganos, Judaeos et Arianos de Symbolo, which had the same polemic 
character as the dialogue and was likewise a pseudograph. In addition 
to these there were abundant abusive verses in the hymns of the Church 
Fathers, such as St. Ambrose (340-397) , Aurelius Clemens Prudentius 
(348410) , Venantius Fortunatus (530-609) and others. The kernel of 
the underlying thought, however, is found already in the Biblical book 
of Lamentations, which depicts the great affliction and dire distress of 
Jerusalem after her destruction at the hands of Nebuchadnezzar in 586 
B.C.E. "How doth the city sit solitary, that was full of people! How 
is she become as a widow! She that was great among the nations, and 
princess among the provinces, how is she become tributary!" (I.I); 
"Jerusalem hath grievously sinned, therefore she is become as one un- 
clean ... she herself also sigheth, and turneth backward*' (1.8) ; "The 
crown is fallen from our head; woe unto us! for we have sinned" (5.16) ; 
"What shall I liken to thee, o daughter of Jerusalem? ... for thy breach is 
great like the sea; who can heal thee?" (2.13) . These few verses alone, 
and there are many more like them in the book of Lamentations, already 
contain the germs of the figure of the Synagogue in the group under 
discussion. As to the Church, she actually was at the peak of her triumph 
and the zenith of her glory, hence she was rightfully panoplied in corus- 
cating garb and defiant splendor, looking down nonchalantly or insolently 
on her hapless rival. 

This figure- seems to have been popular and quite universal, for it has 
been located on the portals of cathedrals and town halls in many cities 

nated Ms. of Hfldegard of Bingen," in Jewish Quarterly Review, n. s., vol. v (1915) 267 ffi. 
In the latter the synagogue is pictured as a blind and downcast woman holding in her lap 
Abraham and the prophets and on her breasts Moses with a blue conical cap that was a 
characteristic mark of the German Jews during the later Middle Ages. 

'Kirachner, &, "Alphabedsche Akrosdcha in der syrischen Kirchenpoede," in Orient 
CftrirffentHjVoLri (1907) 29-49. 

See Migne's Patrologia Latino, voL xlii, coL 1131-1140. 


of France and Germany, such as Paris, Bordeaux, Strasbourg, Bamberg, 
Worms, etc. It is known to have existed in many more localities, from 
which it disappeared in the course of reconstruction in modern times. 
Originally confined to the plastic arts and used as statues on cathedrals 
and city halls, it came to be employed in the course of time also in the 
graphic and minor arts, as paintings on church windows, illustrations of 
hymnals and other books, woodcuts and carvings on ivory, weaving 
designs in textiles, etc. In the pre-printing age this delineation through 
the plastic and graphic arts was equivalent to proclamation through 
broadsides in the fifteenth and subsequent centuries and to publication 
in newspapers in modern times; like these it helped to create and formu- 
late public opinion. 

Another popular motif of medieval art, infinitely more offensive and 
reaching the acme of obscenity, was the delineation of Judaism in, the 
form of a sow. 6 This caricature, designed with special spite and malice 
since it was commonly known that the pig was forbidden to Jews, was 
conceived in Germany some time during the thirteenth century and 
spread to neighboring lands in subsequent centuries. Its earliest appear- 
ance was on the Cathedral of Magdeburg at the close of the thirteenth 
century; next we meet with it at Regensburg in the fourteenth century, 
at Freising and on the church of Wittenberg 7 at the beginning of the 
fifteenth century and similarly on many cathedrals and churches of other 
cities in Germany. 8 In Frankfurt-am-Main it made its appearance even 
on the bridge spanning the river. From German churches this sculptured 
figure travelled also to French and Flemish churches. The graphic arts 
perpetuated this caricature in the fifteenth century through various broad- 
sides, which were furthered through the invention of printing. In one 
form or another it lingered on until the nineteenth century, when it was 
finally banished by the spirit of enlightenment. But one should not be 
surprised if reactionaries of today should revive it once more. 

As pointed out above, this caricature was ubiquitous in medieval 
Germany, but most famous of all was the sow of Wittenberg, probably 

See Otte, Handbuch der kirchlichen Kunstarchaologie, vol. i, ed. 5, p. 488; see also 
Kaufmann, David, Gesammelte Schriften, vol. i, p. 161 ff. 

7 The first description of the sow of Wittenberg was given by Luther in his pamphlet 
Tom Schem Hamephoras, which appeared in 1543 together with his Von den Juden und 
ihren Lugen. A later description is found in De Schemhamphorasch usu et abusu by 
Laurentius Fabricius, which was published in 1596; cf. further Revue des Etudes Juives, vol. 
xix (1889) 239. 

8 For another description of the "Jewish sow" see Altmann, Geschichte der Juden in 
Salzburg, vol. i, p. 163. 


because Luther has left us a description of it in his diatribe against the 
Jews. 9 He states as follows: "Here in Wittenberg a sow is chiselled in 
stone at the church and under her lie suckling pigs and Jews sucking 
from her teats; behind the sow stands a rabbi who raises her tail and 
bends down and looks attentively beneath it into the Talmud, as if he 
wanted to read something special and ingenious, probably there is the 
place of their Shenahamphoras. . . ." This was by no means the worst 
representation of this motif; there were many more vicious representa- 
tions. In addition to the customary features described by Luther, we 
find on many broadsides that the sow is swallowing excrement and the 
distorted Jew in the back is imbibing it in turn as it comes forth beneath 
her tail. 10 In this way the stubborn Synagogue was made a butt for 
coarse wit and the people's taste for vulgarity and obscenity was satisfied. 

As might have been expected, this offensive piece of sculpture was 
usually turned towards the ghetto, so that Jews emerging therefrom 
could not avoid beholding it and being stung to the quick. Fortunately 
the irony of history willed it that the sharp edge was removed from this 
caricature through the circumstance that in medieval Jewish symbolism 
the sow represented Rome and its Catholic hierarchy, and whenever a 
Jew passed this monstrous sculpture on cathedrals and churches it sig- 
nified to him the castigation of converted and recalcitrant Jews who hung 
on to the breasts of Rome. 11 

So much for the presentation of Judaism and the Synagogue in the 
art of the Middle Ages. As to the Jew himself, he hardly fared much 
better at the hands of the biased artists. From the very beginning of 
European art in the early Christian centuries a ridiculous type was 
created to represent the Jew, generally a gnarled and decrepit being with 
sharply pointed and well-accentuated features, weak-kneed and woe- 
begone, with a pointed, dishevelled beard, dad in a loose gaberdine and 
some sort of a round cap. In the later Middle Ages, beginning with the 
twelfth century, the conical or funnel-shaped hat 12 and the yellow 


Cf. Fuchs, Eduard, tie Juden in der Karihater, p. 9 and double-page illustration facing it. 

n See Kaufmann, David, Gesammclte Schriften, vol. i, p. 166. Johannes Christian Wagenseil, 
in his De infundibuli sui occasions, consilio et institute (1693), p. 71, relates that a Christian 
painter once told him how, when engaged to paint the frescoes in a synagogue, he took the 
liberty to paint the sow of Wittenberg inside the holy ark. 

"The Judtnhut was conical and pointed at the top, and the brim was often twisted into 
the form of a pair of horns (Weiss, KostZmkundt, p. 147).' It was generally ydlow and 
served as a dfafingrifshfng mark in accordance with the decrees of the Fourth Lateran 
Council (1215)- 


badge 18 were added to this type. This satirical figure, modelled after the 
controversial literature of those days, was intended to arouse aversion 
and disgust in the people beholding it, especially when juxtaposed with 
the lusty and robust Christian type. To make sure of its wide distribution 
and universal propagation it was not only sculptured inside and outside 
of churches and cathedrals but also graphically illuminated in Bibles, 
prayer books and hymnals used at home. For, curiously enough, this 
type was applied to Old Testament characters and Biblical patriarchs, 
prophets, kings and poets w T ere often pictured in the dejected posture and 
unsavory garb of medieval Jews. This may not be evident in the early 
products of this art, such as in the Biblical cycles presented on the 
mosaics of the churches Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, Cappella 
Palatina in Palermo, the Cathedral in Monreale in Sicily and St. Mark's 
in Venice, As a matter of fact it is conspicuous by its absence from the 
Biblical cycles of Lorenzo Ghiberti on the bronze doors of the Baptistery 
at Florence, Benozzo Gozzoli in the Campo Santo at Pisa, Raphael on the 
ceilings of the Loggie of the Vatican and Michelangelo on the ceiling 
of the Sistine Chapel of the Vatican. Apparently Mediterranean artists 
were not as susceptible to this motif as those of northern Europe. But 
this figure makes its appearance in many Biblical pictures which had 
their origin in Central Europe, during the Romanesque-Gothic period, 
more precisely from the twelfth to the fourteenth centuries. A careful 
perusal of any complete collection of Biblical pictures, such as Theodor 
Ehrenstein's Das alte Testament im Elide (Vienna 1923) , will convince 
anyone of the truth of this statement. Here we meet with various sub- 
jects treated in this manner, such as Jacob's journey to Egypt and his 
blessing to Joseph (XV, 12 and 19) , the exodus from Egypt (XVIII, 
20 and 22) , the adoration of the brazen serpent (XIX, 34.114-117) , the 
delivery of the Law by Moses (ibid., 61) , the worship of the golden calf 
(ibid., 79 and 81) , the spies carrying a huge cluster of grapes (ibid., 101) , 
the fall of Jericho (XX, 32-33) , Abner killed by Joab (XXVI, 40) , etc. 
In all these pictures the Biblical characters are modelled after the be- 
spattered and besmirched medieval type of Jew, garbed in the char- 
acteristic gaberdine and funnel-shaped hat, with distorted features and 
in a cringing and crouching attitude. Subsequently this motif crept into 

* The yellow badge was circular and was fixed on the breast, whfte Jewesses were obliged 
to bear two blue stripes on their veils or cloaks (Abrahams, Jewish Life in the Middle Ages, 
p. 320). 


the Biblia Pauperum or Poor Man's Bible, 14 which consisted of woodcuts 
illustrating Biblical history for the visualization of the common people 
who often could neither read nor write. Such a Bible consisted of either 
forty or fifty woodcuts, disposed in three horizontal compartments, each 
being itself arranged in three vertical divisions, all divided from each 
other by an architectural framework. The chief figure, in the central 
compartment, was taken from the New Testament and this was comple- 
mented by an appropriate illustration on each side from the Old Testa- 
ment. Above and below the New Testament subject there was a pair 
of prophets set in the frame of a double window. The rest of the com- 
partments left and right contained a verse or two, greatly condensed and 
abbreviated, explaining the Biblical subjects next to them. The purpose 
of this picture series was expressed through the following verse: 

Novus Testamentum in vetere latet, 

Vetus in novo patet 

i.e., every New Testament picture must have on its side one or more 
Old Testament precedents confirming Its veracity. The striking thing 
here is the contrast in the treatment of the central New Testament and 
the lateral Old Testament subjects: the former are always handled with 
great dignity and reverence, with proper seriousness and care, while the 
latter are often manipulated with flippancy and disparagement, in a 
derisive and satirical vein. The Old Testament characters are conceived 
in the same derogatory pose as the familiar medieval Jewish type and are 
used as pegs on which to suspend the poisonous darts of spiteful wit and 
malicious satire. 

The Biblia Pauperum gave rise to many other pictorial Bibles, such 
as the Moralising Bible, the Historiated Bible, the Allegorical Bible, the 
Book of Hours, and the Speculum Humanae Salvationis, all fine speci- 
mens of the flourishing xylographic art and laid out along the lines and 
designs of 4ts parent. 15 There cannot be any doubt that these anonymous 
pictorial Bibles, reproduced in considerable number soon after the in- 
vention of block printing and widely disseminated among the common 
people, exercised a potent influence on the mind of the populace and 

"The Biblia Pauperum originated towards the end of the thirteenth century, probably 
in a Benedictine monastery of Bavaria. Cf. Cornell, Henrik, Biblia Pauperum (Stockholm 
1925) p. 149 ff.; see also Schreiber, W. L., Die Entstehung und Entwicklung der Biblia 
Pauperum (Strassburg n.d.) . 

15 On these derivatives of the Biblia Pauperum cf. Male, E., L'Art religieux au fin du Moyen 
Age en France (Paris 1922) p. 232 ff. 

100 E S S A Y S O N A N T I S M I T I S M 

helped to further the spread of Judeophobia in Central Europe. Since 
the personal contact between Jew and Christian was very feeble since the 
fateful days of the Crusades, the unwitting man or woman was only too 
prone to accept as genuine the adulteries of art and pictorial misrepre- 
sentations of their ecclesiastics. 

But not only in Biblical pictures was the Jew misrepresented in this 
way. As a matter of fact the sacred and archaic subjects of the Bible 
acted in some way as a deterrent to the wild fancy and antipathetical pro- 
clivities of the artist. Worse misrepresentations, bordering on the line 
of caricature, are met with in detached drawings and engravings of a 
secular character. Here the derogatory features are intensified and the 
negative traits are exaggerated, as is customary in caricatures: the languid 
and pallid face becomes more wan and ghastly, the beard becomes more 
pointed and disheveled, the funnel of the hat grows in size and the 
gaberdine extends in width and length. There are numerous examples 
of this type in medieval art, but I can point out only a few. Such are 
the Jewish figures in an illuminated manuscript of the Scivias of Hilde- 
gard of Bingen, a product of the twelfth century. 16 A specimen familiar 
to many is the figure of the minnesinger, Siisskind of Trimberg, in 
Bavaria in a codex of the thirteenth century in Heidelberg. 17 Another 
example are the Jewish figures in a block book edition of the Apocalypse 
of St. John of the fifteenth century. 18 Even in a Latin translation of the 
Haggadah produced by Thomas Murner in 1512 we find woodcuts of 
Beatus Murner representing groups of three Jews at the table in various 
unattractive poses. That it was not foreign to England may be seen from 
an undated caricature on a Roll containing an account of the tallages and 
fines paid by Jews to Henry III, presumably in 1233. 19 It is an elaborate 
satirical design of Jews and devils, arranged on a pediment. 

Thus the misrepresentation of the Jew in medieval art was compre- 
hensive and far-reaching. Wherever the Christian turned in his daily 
life the distorted figure of the Jew was flaunted before his eyes: on portals, 
frescoes, and stained-glass windows of churches and cathedrals; on monu- 
ments and memorials in public squares, city-halls and on bridges; in 
illuminated and illustrated Bibles, Psalters and prayer books in general, 

* Cl the artide by Charles Singer in Jewish Quarterly Review, n. s., vol. v (1915) 267 fL 
v Reproduced by B. Badt in Die Lieder des Susskind van Trimberg (Berlin 1920) and in 
Judischfs Lexikon, vol. v, plate dx. 

M Cf. Westheim, Paul, Das Holzschnittbuch (Postdam 1921) p. 22. 
39 Exchequer of Receipt, Jews' Roll, no. 8. 


constantly used at home; and besides on many household articles, such 
as stoves, china plates, and urinals, and bric-a-brac on mantlepieces. Add 
to these the parallel misrepresentations in literature (hymnals, sermons, 
polemics) and on the stage (miracle and passion plays) , and one gets an 
idea of the far-flung and thorough poisoning of the minds of the people, 
leading to a deep-seated bias against and profound hatred of the Jews. 
It helps to explain the violent outbreaks in peaceful communities which 
often led to bloodshed. 

It is interesting to note that this misrepresentation or rather carica- 
turization of the Jew in medieval European art went on for centuries to 
such an extent that it almost began to convince the Jews themselves of 
its supposed truthfulness. At any rate, towards the close of the Middle 
Ages we meet with books illustrated by Jewish artists in the same de- 
rogatory style, perpetuating the legend of an inferior creature. This 
applies to a miniature of Lot fleeing from Sodom in a miscellaneous 
Hebrew volume of the close of the thirteenth century in the British 
Museum, 20 in which Lot is modelled after the despicable medieval Jewish 
type outlined above. Again, it occurs in an illuminated Bible codex 
belonging to the Jewish community of Cracow and executed in Ger- 
many during the fourteenth century, where Abraham, Moses and their 
contemporaries are pictured in the ridiculous conical hats of the medie- 
val Jews. 21 This type is found particularly in illuminations and illustra- 
tions of the Passover Haggadah which are known to be the work of 
Jewish artists but must have been derived from a Christian source. Strik- 
ing specimens may be found in the manuscript Haggadahs found at the 
Hebrew Union College Library in Cincinnati and at the municipal li- 
braries of Munich and Darmstadt, all dating from the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries. 22 

The artistic vilification of the Jew went on for centuries and was even 
carried over into modern times, when caricature developed into a special 
art. How the Jew fared in this modern caricature is a subject for itself, 
which can easily be studied with the aid of Eduard Fuchs' Die Juden in 
der Karikatur (Munich 1921). But the medieval spell was broken by 

* Described by G. Margoliouth in Catalogue of Hebrew and Samaritan Manuscripts in 
the British Museum, vol. iii, p. 402 ff. 

fl Cf. Ameisenowa, Zofja, Biblja Hebraiska XlV-go Wieku w Krakowie i jej Dekoracja 
Malarska (Cracow 1929) . 

a For a detailed description of these Haggadahs and their illustrations, d Die DarmstSdter 
Pessach-Haggadah, ed. by Bruno Italiener (Leipzig 1927) . 


Rembrandt, who rid himself of an agelong bias, and through a series of 
noble and patriarchal Jewish figures demonstrated to the world that the 
Jew was not a devil, as he had been depicted throughout the Middle 
Ages but, on the contrary, a man of fine qualities and beautiful traits to 
anyone who really wished to see them. The great Dutch painter sought 
the real worth of the Jew and he found it at his elbow in the Amsterdam 
ghetto, thereby dealing a mortal blow to the medieval myth of a bete 


It is an old truism that the conditions of every age are mirrored in 
its laws. Hence, a survey of the laws, their aims, the ways and means 
whereby they seek to realize these aims, their success or failure, their 
relation to past, present and future laws furnishes a panorama of the 
age to which they owe their genesis. Law, as a pillar of every social com- 
munity, has always occupied a central position in the history and 
destiny of peoples. 

We are living in an age when we daily read and hear of Jews dis- 
criminated against or deprived of legal rights merely because they are 
Jews, and when the legal measures directed against the Jews are char- 
acterized as a return to the methods of the "dark Middle Ages." It is 
amazing, therefore, that no modern monograph on the legal position of 
the Jews in this period is available. What were the basic principles 
underlying the state's relations to the Jews during the Middle Ages, 
principles which found their repercussion in legislation, judicial practice, 
and legal doctrine of those days? In the Middle Ages, just as in modern 
times, the legal position assigned to the Jew by and in relation to his 
surroundings exercised a decisive influence upon his entire spiritual, 
religious, economic, social, and cultural development. 

The policy of the medieval state toward the Jews was motivated and 
characterized by an inner contradiction arising out of the discord between 
medieval theory and reality. The conception current throughout the 
Middle Ages regarded the state as a single universal empire embracing 
all Christendom. In its structure spiritual and secular views were em- 
bodied in the same way as the soul is united with the body in the 
individual man, Christendom constituted one flock, one body, with 
Christ as its mystic head, king and shepherd. The Jews as unbelievers 
were outside of this community, and therefore were accorded a special 

* For source material and literature, see Kisch, Guide, "Research in Medieval Legal 
History of the Jews," in Proceedings of the American Academy for Jewish Research, vol. vi 
(1934-35) 229-76; Kisch, G., "The Jewry-Law of the Medieval German Law Books," ibid., 
vii (1935-36) 61-145; vol. x (1940) 99-184. An extensive study of this subject is to appear 
shortly under the title, The Jews in Medieval Germany: Their Status in the Light of Law- 
Books and Court Decisions. 



sums. Hence the medieval state, subordinate to the omnipotence of the 
Church and dependent upon her legal principles, was bound to exclude 
a human group which was regarded either as unbelieving or else of a 
different faith. Wherever the interests of the Church and those of the 
state were identical, wherever the king promised to preserve and to 
further the true faith and to be the guardian of the holy Church, 
wherever the enforcement of the moral demands of Christianity appeared 
as the highest aim of earthly power, the state could not possibly protect 
a religious conviction different from and opposed to its own. According 
to the general conception, which found expression above all in theological 
doctrines and canon law rules, the Jews were justly handed over to woeful 
damnation and eternal servitude because of the guilt they had brought 
on themselves by their rejection of the Savior. But on the same basis of 
Christianity, theology and philosophy, secular legislation and legal theory 
clearly taught another doctrine: that Christian charity commands respect 
Cor the human dignity of the Jews also, and forbids the carrying of the 
first major premise to its strict logical conclusion. 

These contradictory views called for reconciliation, especially with 
respect to the necessities of medieval economic life. While medieval 
society, Church-controlled and organized in fixed corporations and guilds, 
failed to grant the Jews admission, thereby excluding them from all 
legitimate callings, nevertheless at the same time a way was found to give 
them legal protection through the so-called Judenschutz, and to integrate 
them legitimately into the state. In accordance with that peculiar in- 
consistency, characterizing the medieval Weltanschauung, a .compromise 
was arrived at which admitted the Jews, with certain restrictions, as a 
constituent part of the medieval state and incorporated them as active 
participants in the economic life. At the same time, however, the Jews 
were on sufferance, tolerated for the benefits derived from them, par- 
ticularly those accruing to the state treasury* 

Viewed in this light, the term Jewry-law (Judenrecht) and its his- 
torical significance becomes dear. Jewry-law is the special law for the 
Jews, which comprises the special legal rules determining their legal 
status in the Christian lands of Europe. Here, for over a millennium 
and a half, until the period of emancipation, they had to live under a 
legal code forced upon them from without; and they were rarely if ever 
permitted to exercise an influence on the making of the laws which 
governed their life. 


To understand the attitude of the medieval state towards the Jews, as 
it found expression in positive law, one must pass in review the three 
major sources of Jewry-law: (1) Jewry-law in the strictest sense of the 
term, i.e., charters (privileges) and customary law, (2) judicial decisions 
which either applied the former in practice or reduced them to mere paper 
rights, (3) the basic ideas and discussions of legal theory. In the follow- 
ing survey the main attention is directed to Central Europe. 

It was the king's privilege to place Jews under his protection. The 
Jews of Europe very early received from the various rulers guarantees 
of protection far their person and property, for life, honor and possessions, 
for their religious practices and necessary buildings, protection for their 
economic activities, freedom of trade, exemption from tolls and duties, 
permission to apply Jewish law, recognition of Jewish tribunals for 
internal Jewish affairs, and permission to employ Christian servants* 
Emperors, kings and princes at first granted such charters to individual 
Jews, later also to certain Jewish communities, and finally to all Jews 
who lived in a definite territory. These charters and the general statutes 
under municipal and provincial law defined and delimited the political 
status of the Jews, namely, their relations to the state and the authorities, 
their duty to pay taxes and render services, etc They also contained 
regulations on the Jews' position under criminal, civil, and procedural 
law, and determined the measure of recognition to be accorded to Jewish 
law. The oldest charters of this kind that have come down to posterity, 
date from the jeign of Emperor Louis the Pious (814-840) ; Emperor 
Henry IV granted similar charters to the Jews of Speyer and Worms, in 
1090. The Jews paid the king an annual tax for his protection, a tax 
only slightly higher than that of the Christian merchants. 

Within the framework of the charters the life of the Jew developed 
favorably. They could unfold their commercial activity freely, could 
care for that property and were on the best of terms with the Christian 
population. But* the Church constantly emphasized the contrast of 
Christians to the infidels, who were held responsible for the death of the 
Savior. The intensity of religious pathos found an outlet during the 
First Crusade in cruel Jewish persecutions, especially in Germany. After 
the bloody events of the year 1096, for (lie first time the Jew 
protection and security throughout the empire in a general law, the first 
imperial land peace of 1103. Here they are mentioned along with denes, 
merchants and women, and included in the group of people especially in 


need of protection (homines minus potcntes) . It was surely no mere 
chance that in 1119 for the first time Jews were also assured of security 
of life, property and religious practice in a papal bull. 

After the storms of the Crusades peace was again gradually restored, 
the Jews were allowed to return to their homes, the Jewish communities 
recovered, and new communities could arise. In the rising cities the 
commercial talents of the Jews proved indispensable. Jews often entered 
into a permanent legal relationship with the cities. Up to the middle of 
the fourteenth century the law content of the municipal rights and 
duties of the Jews was identical with that of Christian citizens. The Jews 
were actually designated as citizens, and the rights of citizenship con- 
ferred on them were not essentially different from those enjoyed by 
Christian city dwellers. They had the right of domicile, enjoyed legal 
protection of life and property, were entitled to acquire real estate and 
mortgages in all parts of the city and were permitted to dwell among 
the other citizens. Their activity in trade and industry was scarcely 
subject to legal restrictions, and Jewish craftsmen were to be found in 
many places. Jews, like the Christian citizens, were subject to the cities' 
taxes and military requirements. 

But in accordance with the medieval conceptions, not yet enlightened 
by modern ideals of the rights of man and of citizens, the law governing 
Jewish city dwellers showed one distinction: Jews could not exercise 
political rights in the medieval urban community and were thus also 
excluded from public offices. This meant little, however, to the medieval 
Jew. For, on the other hand, the Jewish community had complete 
autonomy in governing its own internal and external affairs, including 
the administration of justice; even their direct relationships with the 
king were not impaired. 

This legal relationship was only gradually transformed into a state 
of complete political, economic, and personal dependence, the so-called 
Kammerknechtschaft, which in the later Middle Ages subjected the Jews 
as the sole servi cameras imperialis to the emperor or other rulers. After 
the imposition of a regular imperial poll-tax on the Jews in 1342, it 
finally resulted in personal unfreedom. The legal institution of Chamber 
Serfdom was not confined to Germany but appears in similar forms 
almost all over medieval Europe. 

In judicial practice the Jews were treated almost completely on a par 
with the Christians, insofar as the general courts had jurisdiction over 


them. This fair treatment of the Jews derives from the medieval concept 
of God as the source of all law. The author of the foremost German 
law-book of the Middle Ages, the Sachsenspiegel (ca. 1221-24) , states: 
"God is Himself Law, hence He loveth Law." "God is himself just, He 
is Justice itself." If God is law, then every legal infraction is a sin, and 
every sin a legal infraction* The world of law is at the same time the 
world of morality. Justice is one of the cardinal virtues, according to the 
medieval moral code. The judge was in God's place. His highest task 
and duty were "to strengthen Right and to weaken Wrong/ 1 And: "The 
judge shall help everyone to obtain justice, if it is asked of him." 

The conception of equality of all men before God led to equality 
of all men before the law. Hence legal disputes affecting Jews were 
decided according to the same principles and in the same manner as those 
of Christian parties. In the many legal decisions issued by the "Supreme 
Court" or Oberhof of Magdeburg, highly respected throughout Europe, 
and other superior courts, from the twelfth to the fifteenth century, the 
jurors never let themselves be carried away by prejudice against a Jew 
to the point of perverting the law. 

Furthermore, medieval legal doctrine as expressed in the "law-books/ 9 
being private records of customary law compiled by expert lawmen, was 
generally just to the Jew. The special position of the Jews described and 
the changes in their legal status originating from political factors had to 
be taken into account, to be sure. However, they were not particularly 
emphasized in the law-books, but were presented and discussed objectively 
and with juridical fairness. In legal doctrine the Jew was considered 
a legal comrade and was treated as such; not as an equal in every respect, 
it is true, but still on the basis of fellowship. The special regulations 
for Jews meant that, except for these regulations, Jews in their relations 
to Christians were subject to the same rules as their Christian fellows. 

National-Socialist pseudo-science has claimed that the modern con- 
cept of race was already known to the Middle Ages, that the antithesis of 
races was recognized then, and that besides religious and economic 
causes, one must look for the element of racial distinction as an im- 
portant reason for the special legal treatment of the Jews and for their 
persecution, particularly at the dose of the Middle Ages. No unam- 
biguous proof for this assertion has been brought forward from the wide 
domains of medieval legislation, legal doctrine, and judicial practice. 
Although the scholarly world could rightfully pass over unfounded 


theories concocted for purposes of political propaganda, it seems appro- 
priate to call attention to a striking example of evidence to the contrary. 
The Schwabenspiegcl, a law-book composed about 1275, in which the 
influence of canon law was most pronounced, particularly by the in- 
corporation of a series of anti-Jewish regulations, fixed the penalty of 
death by fire for Christians and Jews convicted of mutual sex relations. 
Is this perhaps a medieval regulation against "race defilement"? The 
South-German law-book itself answers the question unmistakably through 
its juridical qualification of the crime as "denial of the Christian faith*' 
(wan der cristenman hat cristengeloubm verlougnet" article 272 in 
Gengler's edition) . Such a person was regarded as guilty of an attack 
upon the state religion, and his crime was designated as Ungelouben, 
that is, heresy or unbelief. This, is the sole explanation for the severe 
penalty imposed on the Christian offender and per analogiam also ex- 
tended to the Jew. Death by fire was in the Middle Ages above all the 
punishment for heresy and apostasy. Other sources assign reasons similar 
to those given in the SchwabenspicgeL Considerations of a religious 
nature alone are here at play. Of racial ideas not the slightest trace is 

Surveying the attitude toward the Jews of medieval law in its various 
functions, namely, legislation, judicature, and legal doctrine, one may 
make the following statement: Medieval law was conscious of the 
peculiar position of the Jews as a separate religious entity. But it took 
into consideration and tried to understand the unique situation and 
requirements of the Jews imposed by their religion. The high moral 
conception of law, justice, and judicial office made it impossible to tamper 
with the rights of the Jews by a conscious twisting of the law. 

The question inevitably arises: how is it that at about the middle of 
the fourteenth century the Jews suffered cruel persecution in all German 
cities and elsewhere in spite of their favorable legal treatment? How is it 
that after the second half of the fourteenth century their social and legal 
status took a decided turn for the worse? How is it that secular Jewry 
legislation in the late Middle Ages changed its traditional attitude toward 
the Jews? 

The answer is that" the laws of a people do not permit us to draw 
direct conclusions as to its social conditions. Those peoples which have 
the severest laws are not always the most moraL Thus it would be false 
to conclude from the favorable legal position of the Jews in the Middle 


Ages that their social status was equally favorable. It is true that their 
social position depended largely on the content and development of the 
state's legislation concerning them. But it was also influenced by extra- 
legal factors and, conversely, it reacted again upon the legal status. It was 
also affected by the religious, economic, cultural, and psychological 
conditions of the time. 

The Church, the other chief political power of the Middle Ages, dog- 
matically bound unlike the state, for centuries and with admirable con- 
sistency tried in every way possible to segregate the "unbelievers" from the 
flock of true believers, in order to protect the Christian religion and its 
adherents from any danger of harmful influence. Little wonder, there- 
fore, that slowly but consistently the canonical legislation concerning 
Jews affected the state's Jewry legislation. Ecclesiastical propaganda en- 
compassing the Christian world soon transformed the Jewish question 
into a problem of international importance. The Church laws in their 
all-embracing authority were not restricted to the forum ecclesiasticum 
alone. They were constantly reiterated and reinforced by provincial 
councils and local synods. Ecclesiastical courts watched over their en- 
forcement. Thus they could not fail to impress themselves also upon 
secular legislation, which either adapted itself to the Canon law require- 
ments or directly adopted the regulations of the Church. Accordingly, 
the status of the Jews under secular law, particularly after the "Reception 
of Roman Law," was destined to gradual deterioration. 

Moreover, an economic phenomenon recurring from the early Middle 
Ages to this very day comes into play. The Jews, through their talents 
and activities, have in every age and in every type of economy fulfilled 
an economic function. In the Middle Ages they were needed and used 
for certain pioneering activities (trade, moneylending, pawnbroking, 
etc.) . This need existed as long as the majority of the population had 
either no interest in or no ability for such economic services. As 
soon as they learned to satisfy this need themselves, the mission of the 
Jew was finished. Displacement from his position in the economic life 
followed sooner or later; he had to look for other opportunities to perform 
pioneering functions in new fields, but again only until the majority 
group should once more move into them. This is an endlessly recurring 
process, an endless curve of ups and downs. It serves to explain only the 
Jews' function in medieval economy which, of course, also affected their 
status in the social life. 


The continual complaints against Jewish moneylenders, coming from 
all classes of the medieval population, particularly in the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries, necessarily made the Jew an unpopular figure. The 
fact that the Jews' services could not be dispensed with when necessity 
arose, did not reduce the ever-growing intensity of popular sentiment 
against Jewish business activities. True, some circles recognized the social 
need for professional moneylending as a requirement arising from con- 
temporary economic conditions. But there was little or no understanding 
in the broad masses of the economic changes and their requirements. 
The greatest obstacle to a universal recognition of the necessity of more 
modern economic methods was, however, the fact that theology and 
Canon law conducted an almost permanent crusade against usury and 
usurers. Hence, there is some truth in the remark that usury secured 
the Jews official protection at the price of public detestation. The con- 
tinuous deterioration in their popular estimation, derived from their 
main vocation, even if not accepted universally, was bound to affect their 
social reputation seriously. The final product was "contempt and hatred 
which had sunk so deeply into the public consciousness that not even the 
highest authorities of the Church and State were able to meliorate it." 
The centuries-old process of cultural and social adaptation of the Jews 
was slowly transformed into one of progressive dissimilation and gradual 
elimination from the indigenous culture and society. The invention of 
the host-desecration fable, the revival of the myth of image mutilation, 
the spread of the ritual murder and blood accusations, the charges of 
poisoning the wells become intelligible from this angle. Once popular 
sentiment had adopted such an attitude the way was cleared for outlaw- 
ing the Jew. This was done gradually and regionally only at the end of 
the Middle Ages. 

For centuries medieval law maintained its position against all the 
powerful influences emanating from the religious, economic, political, 
social, and psychological factors. For, according to the medieval concept 
of the state, the law stood above the power of every ruler. It was the 
state's function to maintain and to defend the "good old" law. This faith 
in the immutability of legal norms encountered in Christianity a spiritual 
attitude which asserted that the consciousness of moral obligations was 
rooted in the individual human personality. Devotion to the old divine 
law was hence both a legal and a moral duty. Law, not made by man, 
could not lawfully be altered by man, not even by the King. Altering 


it meant, indeed, an unlawful infringement of the law. Thus the treat- 
ment of the Jews in the latter half of the Middle Ages, the temporal and 
numerical restrictions, their exclusion from the ownership of land, the 
designation of special living quarters and the prescription of distinguish- 
ing dress or other visible signs of distinction for them, in short, their 
degradation to citizens of second rank did not spring primarily from law, 
but resulted from political, religious, economic, social, and psychological 

For centuries judicial decisions and legal doctrines did not allow 
anti-Jewish bias any access into the realm of law, but granted the Jew 
too law and justice. It was indeed a notable achievement of law and 
justice in the "dark Middle Ages" to impede the decline of medieval 



Islam is today one of the most popular religions of mankind, counting 
more than two hundred million devotees scattered in large groups over 
a territory extending from Morocco in the West all the way to China 
and the Philippine Islands in the East. 1 Founded some 1300 years ago 
by a camel-driver of Mecca, by the name of "Mohammed," the Moslem 
creed conquered within the first century of its birth besides the land of 
its origin a far-flung domain including Persia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Egypt 
and the whole of North Africa as well as the Iberian Peninsula. Its cham- 
pions even penetrated into France as far as Tours where their advance 
was checked by Charles Martel. At a subsequent period Sicily and a part 
of southern Italy were for a while in Moslem hands and during the 
sixteenth century an Islamic power, the Ottoman Turks, having made 
itself master of the terrain of the former Byzantine empire, swallowed up 
Asia Minor and the Balkan Peninsula and actually knocked at the gates 
of Vienna. The spread of the Moslem religion over countries which 
were thickly inhabited by Jews brought it about that for a good many 
years the majority of the Jewish population of the world lived under the 
crescent. It becomes, therefore, of particular interest to find out how 
they fared in this environment and no study of antisemitism can be com- 
plete that does not pay some attention to the position of the Jews under 

In considering this subject it is necessary to note at the outset that 
Islam was never claimed by its founder to be an original creation. It was, 
according to him, merely a continuation of the two creeds from which it 
was derived. Yet it was not an exact replica of Judaism and Christianity 
for it deviated from them in certain significant details. It was, therefore, 
inevitable that conflict should arise between the parent faiths and their 
offspring and that conflict almost from the moment of the latter' s birth. 
The development of a lively polemic literature 2 in which Moslems took 

1 Hartmann, Martin, Der Islam, p. 179 ff. 

*A full bibliography of this literature has been compiled by Moritz Steinschneider in his 
Polemische und apologetische Literatwr in arabischer Sprachc zarischen Muslimen, Christen 
und Juden. Cf. also Ignaz Goldziher's discussion in the Zeitschrift der deutschen morgen- 
landlschen Gesellschaft, vol. xxxii (1878) 341-87. 



issue over their religious views with Jews and Christians was a natural 
consequence. These polemics were initiated by none other than the 
Prophet of Allah himself 8 who, finding that he was at variance with both 
Judaism and Christianity and that he was on that account rejected by 
their adherents, felt compelled to defend his position by justifying his 
departures from the tenets of the older creeds, and his chief alibi was 
that Jews and Christians had wilfully perverted the original text of the 
Bible of which he and he alone possessed the authentic version. 4 

Now such slashes of opinion need not necessarily be accompanied by 
armed warfare. The arguments of the mind do not require the reinforce- 
ment of the logic of the mailed fist. With Mohammed, however, the 
establishment of the authenticity of Islam was not merely a question of 
veracity. It was also a personal matter, something in which his honor- 
nay his very life was involved. He had among his Arab fellow-country- 
men bitter enemies, who not only doubted his mission but persecuted 
him so inexorably that he was obliged to flee from his native Mecca. As 
a monotheist, who revered both the Old and the New Testament and 
spoke in the name of the God of Abraham, 5 Mohammed had counted in 
his plight on the recognition and support of the "peoples of the book" 
under which term all non-idolators were included 6 who were settled in 
and near the city of Medina, in which he had found refuge from his 
Meccan foes. He had reckoned especially on the aid of the powerful 
Jewish tribes who resided there. In this hope, however, he was destined 
to be sorely disappointed, for "the peoples of the book" not only refused 
to accept him but they taunted and mocked him, charging him with 
ignorance and imposture, and even conspired against him with his 
enemies, after having sworn friendship and peace. It is not to be won- 
dered at, therefore, that when his army was victorious, the founder of 
Islam wreaked vengeance upon those who, on account of proximity of 
belief, he had hoped would be his allies and flock to his standard and 
whom at first he had respected as men to whom God had revealed him- 
self; and that he punished them for-their stubbornness, their hostility and 
their treachery by exile and, in one instance, by public massacre. The 
circumstance of their preponderance in numbers in northern Arabia 

Encyclopedia of Islam, artide "Afal al-Htftb." 
Ct Koran, n 70, HI 64, V 15, VI 91. 

' C. Koran, n 129. 

Encyclopedia of Mm, artide "Dhimma.** 


brought it about that the majority of the unbelievers among the "peoples 
of the book" who felt his wrath were Jews. Yet it would be unfair to 
construe Mohammed's punitive acts against the Banu Kainuka, the Banu 
Kuraiza and the Banu al-Nadir as a policy directed exclusively against 
Jews, for he employed the same methods with all those who opposed him, 
aye he was more severe with his Arab kinsmen who persisted in their 
paganism than with those who, like himself, believed in the one God even 
though they were foreigners. 7 

The bitterness and vituperation which the founder of the Moslem 
religion felt against his Jewish neighbors, especially during the last few 
years of his life, and which are reflected by his utterances recorded in 
the Koran, did not leave any marked traces on his immediate successors. 
The early caliphs, who were the builders of the Islamic empire, were too 
much preoccupied with the extension of their political power to con- 
cern themselves greatly with the beliefs of their subjects. They were too 
dependent on the good will of the civilized peoples whom they had 
conquered to risk the danger of incurring their animosity by interfering 
with their religious institutions, and so if these only paid the tax and 
promised loyalty to the Moslem governments which gave them protection, 
they were left undisturbed. There was ample authority for such treat- 
ment of the adherents of other monotheistic faiths in the Koran and in 
the traditions of the Prophet. "There is no compulsion in religion," 
declares the holy book of Islam, 8 and in the hadith Mohammed is re- 
ported to have stated: "He who wrongs a Jew or a Christian will have 
myself as his indicter on the Day of Judgment." 9 The only exception to 
the tolerant attitude of the worldly-wise Ommayyads was Omar II who 
reigned from 717 to 720 and who, owing to pietistic influences, curtailed 
the rights of unbelievers in his realm. 

It is first with the advent of the Abbassid dynasty towards the end of 
the eighth century, when the political power of Islam was already con- 
solidated, that a less tolerant policy begins to be definitely formulated. 
It is then that the codes defining the Restrictions pertaining to Jews and 
Christians which purport to go back to the second successor of Moham- 
med, the Caliph Omar I, emerge and that the demand is made that these 
rules be enforced. 10 The limitations applied to costume, mount, the 

T Encyclopedia of Islam, article "Ahl al-kitab." 

* Koran, H 257. 

Beladbori, Futuh al buldan, ed. by M. J. de Goeje (Leyden 1866) p. 162. 
10 Encyclopedia of Islam, article "Ahl al-kitab. 


carrying of arms, testimony in the lawcourts, intermarriage with Moslems, 
the building and repair of houses of worship, publicity in the practice 
of religious rites and the holding of executive positions in the govern- 
ment. 11 Non-Moslems were to be distinguished from the devotees of 
Allah by the dress they wore. They were forbidden to ride on horses or 
mules. They were not permitted to erect new synagogues or churches, 
particularly in Moslem neighborhoods. They were disqualified as wit- 
nesses in lawsuits involving Moslems, etc. 

This was, however, only theory. That the practice did not always 
correspond to it is evident from the frequent reiteration of the ordinances 
which the neglect of them made necessary. But whatever the practice may 
have been, this much is certain: that there was no such thing as a fixed 
and consistent policy. Whether the laws pertaining to the "protected 
peoples" were enforced rigidly or loosely depended upon the character 
and the temperament of the sultan and the circumstances of the time. 
A pious ruler would, in a moment of religious remorse, dismiss all his 
non-Moslem officials, and a little while after, with the return of sobriety, 
appoint them again. This happened in the case of the Caliph al-Muqtadir, 
who ruled between 908 and 932. 15 There were also not wanting outbursts 
of popular feeling that resulted in excesses in which the Moslem popula- 
tion would turn upon the members of the other faiths living in their 
midst, destroying the latter's homes and houses of worship, massacring 
the men and selling the women and children into slavery. An incident of 
this sort occurred in Granada, Spain, on December 30, 1066, when an 
infuriated mob of the Moslem inhabitants of that city pounced upon 
their Jewish neighbors, murdering about four thousand of their number 
and plundering their dwellings. 13 At that time Joseph, the son of the 
celebrated Jewish statesman, Talmudist and poet, Samuel Ibn Nagdela, 
who was himself a victim of this uprising, was vizir of King Badis. What 
motives brought it about is indicated in the following excerpt from a 
poem of the fakih Abu Ishak of Elvira which contributed considerably 
to enkindling the flames of passion of the Moslem population of Granada: 

Go my messenger and relate these words to all the Sinhejites. . . . 
Your master hath done a deed at which his ill-wishers rejoice: though 
he could choose a minister among believers, he hath chosen an infidelt 

u . Ibid., article "Dhimma," and A. S. Tritton's The Caliphs and Their Non-Muslim Subjects, 
p. 5ff. 

12 Tritton, ibid., p. 23. 
"Dozy, R., Spanish Islam, tr. by F. G. Stokes (London 1915) p. 653. 


Through this minister the Jews, contemptible outcasts, have become great 
lords, and their pride and arrogance know no bounds. . . . 

I came to Granada, and there beheld the Jews reigning. They had 

parcelled out the provinces and the capital between them. . . . They 

collected the taxes, they made good cheer, they were sumptuously clad, 

while your garments, oh Moslems, were old and worn out. All the secrets 

of the state were known to them; yet is it folly to put trust in traitors! 

While believers ate the bread of poverty, they dined delicately in the 

palace. They have supplanted you in your master's favor, oh Moslems, and 

will you not oppose them? . . . Think not that it would be treachery to 

slay them! Nay, but treachery is it to suffer them to sit in high places. . . , 14 

Similar sentiments of jealousy, called forth by the favorable position of 

the Jews under the Fatimids, were entertained somewhat earlier by an 

Egyptian poet who gave vent to his feelings in such sarcastic verses as: 

The Jews of this age have attained their highest hopes 
and grown strong. 

Power is theirs and wealth and from them is chosen 
the counsellor and the king. 

Men of Egypt, turn Jews, I advise you. The sky 

has turned Jew. 15 

With all this, however, the Jews did not suffer any more from such 
excesses than the Christians. In fact, of the two denominations the lot of 
the former was by far the pleasanter under the crescent. The exilarch 
of the Jews enjoyed all the privileges of a secular prince while the 
Christian patriarch was treated only as a dignitary of the church. 16 The 
relative inferiority of the position of the Christians in Islamic lands may 
be gauged by the fact that often in times of persecution Christians would 
don the turban of the Jews in order to escape danger. 17 This does not mean 
that Moslems as a whole did not often harbor prejudices against the Jews. 
Many a popular saying reveals the hostile state of mind of at least a part 
of the Moslem masses with regard to the Jew and their unfriendly opinion 
of him. "A Jew will never pay his taxes until he has had his head 
smacked," declared one of them. 18 "Never is a Jew alone with a Moslem 
without planning how he may kill him," states another. 19 Again there is 
a Moslem tradition that "on the last day the faithful will battle with the 

Ibid., p. 651 ff. 

"Cited by Mez, A., Die Renaissance des Islams (Heidelberg 1923) p. 55. 

w Mez, ibid., p. 31 and note 3. 

17 Tritton, op. cit. t p. 75. 

8 Jahiz, Bayan, i. 165. 


Jews, wherever the stones will say to the believers: 'Behind me lurks a Jew, 
oh Moslem, strike him dead.' " 20 It is also reported of the Jewish physi- 
cian, Musa, that he advised his kadi on his deathbed to forbid to Jews 
the practice of medicine because the latter think it right to kill those who 
profane the Sabbath. 21 Finally it was popularly believed that foul smell 
was a Jewish peculiarity. 22 

It is difficult to determine how widespread these conceptions were. 
That in spite of them the Jews felt safer under Moslem than under 
Christian rule is apparent from the numerous occasions in which, when 
hard pressed by Christian sovereigns, they fled to the domains of Moslem 
rulers. The Islamic conquest of Spain from the Visigoths was equivalent 
to deliverance for the Jewish communities of that country and the in- 
vaders were hailed as saviors. And again, when in 1492 Christian Spain 
cast out its Jewish inhabitants the majority of the exiles found refuge 
in a Moslem state, the Turkish empire, where they were granted numer- 
ous privileges and rose to high estate. 

Of real antisemitism of an all-embracing character one hears very little 
in the early history of Islam. The one major exception was that of the 
fanatical Almohades, who in the middle of the twelfth century seized the 
reins of government in Morocco and southern Spain and who, because 
of their desire to establish a totalitarian state, decided to eliminate all 
non-Moslems, giving those that were present in their domains at the time 
of their conquest the choice between Islam and death, which latter 
alternative they later commuted to exile. It was this edict that compelled 
Moses Maimonides to leave his native city of Cordova. It is noteworthy 
that to this very day the Maghreb or western portion of North Africa, 
the stronghold of the Almohades, has remained a hotbed of Moslem intol- 
erance and the center of the fiercest anti-Jewish excesses in the Moslem 
world. 23 

With all that the burden of Islam even under the Almohades and the 
Mohammedan zealots of Yemen was by no means as heavy on the pseudo- 
converts who had embraced the Islamic faith for appearance's sake as 
was that of Christianity upon the marranos of Spain and Portugal. While 
the Inquisition exercised the strictest vigilance over the neo-Christians, 

Musnad Ahmad, ii, 122, 131, 149; Bukhari, "Jihad/* no. 93. 
* ^Tritton, op. cit. 

**Mez, op. at., p. 47. 

* Cf . Encyclopedia of Islam, article "Ghiyar," and Schreiner, M., "Notes sur les juifs dans 
I'lslara," in RevuS des Etudes Juives, vol. xxix (1894) 206-13. 


punishing with the severest penalties the slightest sign of Judaizing, all 
that the Moslem rulers demanded was the formal verbal acquiescence 
in the prophetic character of Mohammed, which having been obtained, 
the former non-Moslem from which it was extracted was no longer 
molested. The attitude of Islam is well characterized by a Spanish 
Moslem, who had been driven out of his native land during the last 
expulsion of Moriscos from that country in the year 1610. 

Did our victorious ancestors, he asks those who expelled him, ever once 
attempt to extirpate Christianity out of Spain when it was in their power? 
Did they not suffer your forefathers to enjoy the full use of their rites at 
the same time that they wore their chains? Is it not the absolute injunction 
of our Prophet, that whatsoever nation is conquered by Musalman steel 
should, upon the payment of a moderate annual tribute, be permitted to 
persevere in their own pristine persuasion, how absurd soever, or to em- 
brace whatever belief they themselves best approved of? If there may 
have been some examples of forced conversions they are so rare as scarce 
to deserve mention, and only attempted by men who had not the fear of 
God and the Prophet before their eyes, and who, in so doing, have acted 
directly and diametrically contrary to the holy precepts and ordinances 
of Islam which cannot, without sacrilege, be violated by anyone -who 
would be held worthy of the honorable epithet of 'Musalman/ . . . You 
can never produce, among us, any blood-thirsty formal tribunal, on account 
of different persuasions in points of faith, that anywise approaches your 
execrable Inquisition. Our arms, it is true, are ever open to receive all 
who are disposed to embrace our religion; but we are not allowed by our 
sacred Alcoran to tyrannize over consciences. Our proselytes have all 
imaginable encouragement and have no sooner professed God's Unity and 
His Apostle's mission than they become one of us, without reserve; taking 
to wife our daughters, and being employed in posts of trust, honor and 
profit; we contenting ourselves with only obliging them to wear our habit 
and to seem true believers in outward appearance, without ever offering 
to examine their consciences, provided they do not openly revile or 
profane our religion. 24 

To sum up, then, while there were not wanting during the first few 
centuries of Islam instances of anti-Jewish sentiment as well as actual 
excesses against the Jews on the part of both the Moslem public and the 
government, the policy was by no means as consistent nor were the perse- 
cutions as severe on the whole or the feelings as bitter as they were in 
Christian countries. This was due to a variety of causes which are to be 
found in the nature of the Islamic religion and the constitution of the 

34 Morgan, J., Mahametism Explained (London 1723-25) p. 11, 297 ff., 345. 


Islamic empire, in both of which respects Islam differed considerably 
from Christianity. The first of these was, as has been noted, the compara- 
tive tolerance on the part of Islam of other monotheistic faiths. The 
second was the absence in Moslem society of a strongly centralized church 
such as existed in the Christian world. Thirdly, the Jews were never 
charged by Islam, as they have been by Christianity, with having caused 
the death of its founder. The fourth reason for the friendlier relation- 
ship may have been the racial kinship between the Jews and the people 
which produced Islam. The fifth was undoubtedly the fact that the 
Islamic sphere of influence contained too many heterogeneous elements 
to be able to afford to be totalitarian. All these factors took the edge 
from the anti-Jewish excursions which took place within the Moslem 
world in which the bulk of the Jewish population resided during the 
first few centuries of Islam and made the lot of the Jew less onerous there 
than in lands in which the cross was supreme. 

With the decline of the power of Islam the situation of the Jews in 
Moslem lands has not been appreciably changed. Whether they were 
well treated or not depended to a great extent upon the economic condi- 
tions and the social and cultural niveau peculiar to each country. The 
rising tide of nationalism has also not been without its consequences. In 
Egypt, for example, the position of the Jews has been during the past 
few centuries and continues to be very favorable. In Yemen they are 
still exposed to humiliating regulations which have in recent years caused 
many Yemenite Jews to emigrate. In Algiers their superior political 
status, the fact that they were privileged with French citizenship, a 
privilege that was not granted to the other natives and their securer 
economic status aroused against them the ire of the Moslem population 
and gave rise to bloody riots. 25 In Persia Shiite fanaticism has been 
responsible for the coming into being of Moslem crypto-Jews who are 
very anxious to settle in countries where they can openly profess their 
adherence to Judaism. 26 The upsurge of nationalism in Turkey has been 
the cause of discriminatory legislation affecting Jews as well as other 
non-Turkish residents of that country. 27 The same holds true for Iraq. 
Finally, the growth of the Jewish settlement in Palestine has led to anti- 
Jewish disturbances. All these antagonisms, however, have nothing to do 

* American Jewish Year Book, 1935-36, p. 174. 

* Cohen, Israel, The Journal of a Jewish Traveller, p. 262 ff. 

* American Jewish Year Booh, 1930-31, p. 126. 


directly with the Islamic religion even though the religious factor may 
have been played up by those who incited the riots, as happened in the 
summer of 1929 in Palestine. They are due to political expediency or 
economic rivalry, and the opinion ventured and expressed by A. de 
Gobineau in 1865 still holds today that: 

If one separates religious doctrine from political necessity, which has 
often spoken and acted in its name, there is no religion more tolerant 
one might even say more indifferent, regarding the faith of men than 
Islam. This oiganic disposition is so strong that outside of the cases where 
the reason of state, put into play, has led the Moslem governments to use 
force in order to bring about unity of religions, the completest tolerance 
has been the rule furnished by dogma. One must not regard instances 
of violence or cruelty committed on one occasion or another. If one 
studies the situations carefully one would clearly discover causes entirely 
political or grounded in human emotions and temperament. The re- 
ligious factor is only invoked as a pretense but in reality remains outside. 28 

* Les Religions et les Philosophies dans I'Asie Centrale (Paris 1865) p. 24 ff. 


A Study in Government-Fostered Antisemitism 


The distinctive characteristics of antisemitism in tsarist Russia were 
determined by the fact that Russia was about 150 years behind the 
nations of Western Europe in its political, social and cultural develop- 
ment. It was not until 1861 that steps were taken towards the emancipa- 
tion of the serfs and it was not until 1904-1905 that some measure of 
liberal and constitutional administration was introduced into the auto- 
cratic regime. Until the very liquidation of the monarchy in February, 
1917, Russia and Rumania were the only countries in the world where 
antisemitism was a part of official government policy, determining 
domestic, and to some extent also, foreign policies. Russian antisemitism 
was nourished from three sources: (1) religious prejudice against an 
alien faith; (2) economic opposition to the business competitor and 
rival; (3) political animosity to all who were opposed to the autocratic 
system. Antisemitism in Russia originated long before the word itself 
came into use in Germany in 1879 and long before it became a definite 
system. As a matter of fact government-inspired antisemitism existed in 
Russia even before the question of the "Jewish problem" arose. With 
very few exceptions the history of imperial autocratic Russia is a history 
ofS&pen or covert hostility to the Jew. In the last years of the Romanov 
dynasty antisemitism developed greater manifestations of cruelty, in- 
dicating the convulsions of a decaying and doomed regime. In these 
years of unrestrained cruelty, however, Russian antisemitism never 
descended to the low level of Nazi Germany. The agents of the tsarist 
government destroyed and calumniated Jews but they did not develop 
any philosophic theories or a Weltanschauung to mask their religious, 
economic and political contradictions. Quantitatively speaking, about 
2,000 Jewish lives, victims of pogroms during the reigns of the last two 
Romanovs, obviously do not even begin to be comparable with the mass 
slaughters carried out by Nazi Germany. 

The history of modern Russia begins with the reign of Peter the 
Great (1682-1725). More than two centuries separate the Russia of 



Peter from that of its last autocrat, Nicholas II. The essential character 
of the autocracy, however, remained unchanged. The tsar was looked 
upon as the father of his subjects and as God's viceroy on earth. His 
powers and privileges were unlimited and he alone had the power to 
punish or forgive, rendering account only to God in heaven. The in- 
dividual attitude of the tsar towards the Jews, therefore, was a primary 
factor in influencing the policy of the government towards the Jews. 
Peter the Great, in building Russia, invited foreigners from all parts of 
the world. The only exception he made was with regard to the Jews. 
"I prefer," he once said, "to see in our midst nations professing Moham- 
medanism and paganism rather than Jews. They are rogues and cheats. 
It is my endeavor to eradicate evil and not to multiply it. They shall 
not be allowed either to live or to trade in Russia, whatever efforts they 
may make, and however much they may try to bribe those near me." 1 

The immediate successors of Peter, Catherine I and Anna, did not 
give any special thought to the Jewish problem. They adopted the pre- 
vailing conception of the Western countries, looking upon the Jews as a 
"milch cow" or a "money-pot." The Jews would be allowed to settle 
and trade for a time and then would be driven from their homes and 
robbed of their savings. Thus in 1727 Catherine I issued a decree ousting 
the Jews from Little Russia and ordering the exchange of all their gold 
and silver for copper money. 

Of special significance for the history of antisemitism in Russia is the 
ukase issued by the Empress Elizabeth on December 2, 1742. entitled 
"The Ukase on Zhids" The decree states as follows: 

Although the settlement of Zhids all over our empire is forbidden, we 

find that through different ways and means these Zhids still continue .to 

reside here and particularly in Little Russia. Our loyal subjects can expect 

nothing but evil from the haters of our Savior Christ. We therefore order 

the deportation abroad of all Jews, male and female, together with their 

property. In the future only those Jews shall be permitted to enter the 

country who will consent to embrace the Greek Orthodox faith. 2 

Several months later the Senate submitted a report to the Empress which 

stated that the expulsion of the Jews had had a serious effect upon the 

trade of Little Russia and the Baltic provinces. There was also a decrease 

in revenue from taxes and. duties. The comment of the Empress on this 

x Soloviov, S., Istoriya Rosii s drevneishikh vremion, 2d ed., vol. xv, p. 1345; also quoted 
in Dubnow, S., History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, vol. i, p. 247. 
*Polnoye sobraniye zakonov, no. 8673. 


report was: "From the enemies of Christ I desire neither gain nor 
profit." 3 

The Empress Elizabeth could afford to adhere to such principles as 
long as only foreign Jews were concerned. With the partitions of Poland, 
however, White Russia, Volhynia, part of the Duchy of Kiev, Podolia and 
the provinces of Minsk, Grodno and Vilna were annexed to Russia, add- 
ing about 900,000 Jews to Russia. The former policy of lofty contempt 
could not be afforded any longer. Moreover, Elizabeth was succeeded by 
the more civilized and supposedly more liberal Catherine II. In a placard 
attached to the ukase of August 17, 1772, Catherine II declared: 

From the aforesaid solemn assurance of the free exercise of religion and 
the inviolability of property for one and all, it follows of itself that also 
the Jewish communities residing in the cities and territories now incorpo- 
rated into the Russian Empire will be left in the enjoyment of all those 
liberties which they possess at present, in accordance with the (Russian) law 
and (their own) property. For the humaneness of her Imperial Majesty 
will not allow her to exclude the Jews alone from the grace vouchsafed to 
all and from the future prosperity under her beneficent rule, so long as 
they on their part shall live in due obedience as faithful subjects, and shall 
limit themselves to the pursuit of genuine trade and commerce according 
to their callings. 4 

The position of the Jews was radically changing. In Poland they had 
formed a separate community, not being admitted into and avoiding 
contact with any of the groups of the Christian population. Becoming 
subjects of Russia the Jews were equalized in their rights with all of the 
other urban inhabitants and they engaged in trade and business with 
the Christians. This involved the Jews in self-government, in the appor- 
tionment and collection of taxes and duties, in the exercise of justice and 
administrative management and thus entitled them to all the special 
privileges granted to commercial and industrial groups. In this way a new 
motive was added to the former hatred of the Jews in Poland, a rivalry 
and struggle of the privileged groups against the admission of Jews into 
their circles. The age of Catherine II represented perhaps the only 
instance in the history of antisemitism in, tsarist Russia when anti- 
semitism was the impetus to governmental action and not vice versa, as it 
was during the other reigns. It is significant that the civilized and liberal 
empress, who generally exercised unlimited power and even stubborn- 

3 Ibid., no. 8840; see also Dubnow, op. cit., vol. i, p. 257. 

*$liozberg, G. B., Prauovoye i ekonomicheskoye polozheniye eureyev v Rosii, p. viii; also 
Dubnow, op. cit., vol. i, p. 307. 


ness in disregarding the will of her subjects, listened obediently to the 
pleading of the Moscow and Smolensk merchants against the Jews. It is 
to the "enlightened" Catherine II that Russian Jewry is indebted for the 
establishment on December 23, 1791 of the shameful pale of restricted 
settlement for the Jews. This was die starting point for all the subsequent 
restrictions and oppression of the Jewish masses. Of the more than one 
hundred nationalities settled in Russia the Jews were the only non- 
nomadic people to be deprived of the elementary and natural right of a 
person to choose his place of domicile. The law and administration 
forced them to restrict themselves to the limited boundaries of the north- 
western and southwestern regions. The pale established by the govern- 
ment was not only topographical; it also debarred the Jews from economic 
activities of national importance and scope. By restraining the Jews from 
ree intercourse with the Russian people this pale created an atmosphere 
of moral decomposition throughout the empire and caused an artificial 
state of distrust, prejudice and disdain between the Christians and the 
Jews. To the great majority of the Russian people simple-minded and 
not at all predisposed to racial Jew-hatred-it appeared that all the 
political and legal restrictions imposed upon the Jews were simply ex- 
pressive of the will of God and of the "Little Father." Antisemitism in 
Russia was the product of authority and the ruling classes. It was these 
classes who supplied the food, the material and the moral and psycholog- 
ical justification for the popular social antisemitism in Russia. 

The dictum that whatever is beneficial to the Jews is harmful for 
Russia gained even wider acceptance during the reign of Paul I (1796- 
1801). The Jews were looked upon as the exploiters of the native 
Russian Qhn'ftHan population. It was not the landlords and privileged 
classes who were now accused of greed but the Jews. Even some of the 
early revolutionists and socialists in the 1870*s and 80's charged the Jews 
with being "rural bloodsuckers." They developed a line of revolutionary 
strategy whereby the stimulation of hatred against exploiters was to bring 
forth a struggle against the entire system of autocracy. 

Both Alexander I (1801-25) and Nicholas I (1825-55) pursued a 
Jewish policy which aimed to draw the Jews into the general political, 
economic and religious life of Russia. In line with this purpose 
measures were passed which prohibited Jews from participating in the 
distillation or sale of liquor. In order to attract Jews to productive agri- 
cultural work the government created Jewish agricultural colonies io 


southern Russia. But while the restrictive measures were accompanied 
by a wave of expulsions with hundreds of thousands of Jews driven from 
their homes where they had lived for decades and deprived of any source 
of livelihood, the new form of adjusting the Jews to agricultural life pro- 
vided only for very few. "In consequence of the expulsion of tens of 
thousands of Jews from the villages of White Russia in 1823," says 
Dubnow, "some two thousand refugees had drifted into the agricultural 
colonies of New Russia, but all they did was to replace the human wastage 
from increased mortality, which, owing to the change of climate and the 
unaccustomed conditions of rural life, had decimated the original 
settlers." 5 

The aim of the government to bring about at least an outward 
assimilation of the Jews led to the imposition of a special tax for wearing 
the long coat and skullcap; later the wearing of side-curls by men and 
the shaving of women's heads before their marriage was forbidden. On 
the other hand, the doors of the public schools, gymnasiums and univer- 
sities were opened for Jewish students, Jews were permitted to open 
schools of general education with obligatory instruction of Russian and 
Polish or German. 

The most characteristic aspect of this epoch, however, was the religious 
compulsion exercised upon the Jews with relation to their traditions 
and customs, the effort by force to make them renounce their own faith 
and join the world of Christ. After the relations between Alexander I 
and Napoleon became strained the Holy Synod of the Orthodox Church 
issued a circular informing the clergy and through them the body of 
the faithful that "to the great shame of the Orthodox Church he 
(Napoleon) in France had invited the Jewish synagogues and established 
the great Jewish Sanhedrin, the same ungodly council which once dared 
to sentence to crucifixion our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. He contrives 
to unite all the Jews scattered by the wrath of the Almighty all over the 
world, to destroy the Church of Christ and to proclaim a pseudo-Messiah 
in the person of Napoleon." 6 When, after the fall of Napoleon, almost 
all of the Duehy of Warsaw was annexed to Russia, the Jewish popula- 
tion in Russia was increased to almost two million. This added new 
concern to the mystically inclined tsar regarding the salvation of Jewish 

'Dubnow, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 70-71. 

6 Ginsburg, S., Otechesvennaya voina 1812 goda i russkiye evreii (The Patriotic War of 
1812 and the Russian Jews) (St. Petersburg 1912) p. 30. 


souls. By special ukase a Society of Israelitish Christians was established 
on March 25, 1817. The function of this society was to render protec- 
tion to converted Jews and to those preparing for the sacred conversion. 
Those who contributed in converting a definite number of Jews to the 
Orthodox Church were promised financial rewards and decorations. The 
converted Jews themselves were allured by concessions such as tax privi- 
leges, free land in the southern and northern provinces with the right 
to establish urban settlements, full equality of civil rights and the like. 

Whereas Alexander I was concerned with the religious enlighten- 
ment of the misguided Jewish souls and their salvation beyond the grave, 
his brother and successor Nicholas I, a soldier in mind and character, 
was not inclined to depend upon the blessing and sacrament of baptizing 
the Jews. He resolved to break the Jewish isolation here in this world 
without expecting the salvation of their souls beyond the grave. He there- 
fore decided to recruit the Jews for military service. Previous to this the 
Jews had been subject to a special tax in place of this duty. In 1827 an 
ukase was issued which provided for twenty-five years of military service 
for the Jews. This ukase was also intended to have a pedagogical function, 
namely, to free the younger Jewish generation from their national char- 
acteristics and to bring them in line with the native population. Saul 
Ginsburg recently published a document which throws considerable light 
on this aspect. It is a remarkable "memorandum," which was submitted 
to Nicholas I at the beginning of his reign. Having outlined all the 
"crimes" committed by the Jews against the whole world and against the 
peoples among whom they live, the "memorandum" recommends recruit- 
ing Jews into the army in twice the proportion of the Christian popula- 
tion, basing it on the same principles as the double taxation to which the 
Jews were subjected as compared with the other subjects. "The more 
significant benefit, however, of recruiting the Jews is that this extreme 
measure will force them to change their faith. Once in the army the Jew 
will finally realize that it is impossible to follow the precepts of his own 
religion and still more effective would be the bereavements and cruelties 
which await him there." 7 Thus was ushered in the unhappy period of 
the so-called "cantonists," when young Jewish lads were drafted for service 
with the aid of the notorious "catchers." The Jewish communities were 
made responsible for the proper supply of the imposed number of re- 
cruits. According to a supplementary decree the age of the recruits 

7 See Ginsburg, Saul, Historishe shriftcn, voL ii (New York 1937) p. 7-8. 


drafted from the Jewish communities was to be from 12 to 25 years. 
Often, however, the drafters disregarded this instruction, and in order 
to fill the required quota of recruits, children of eight and ten were 
listed as twelve or over. This was sometimes motivated by the sympathy 
of the "catchers," who preferred to seize unmarried men or small children 
to breaking up the homes of married men. 8 

The compulsory imposition upon the Jews of these types of military 
and religious culture did not, however, bring a halt to the expulsions of 
Jews from the villages in many of the provinces. When the question was 
raised at a general meeting of the Council of State to grant Jewish 
merchants permission to reside in the interior provinces, the majority 
of the Council, including the tsar, opposed this on the ground that the 
admission of the Jews "would produce a very unpleasant impression 
upon our people, which, on account of its religious nature and its general 
estimate of the moral peculiarities of the Jews, has become accustomed 
to keep aloof from them and to despise them." 9 In this way the hostility 
towards the Jews among the antisemitic ruling circles was 'shifted to the 
"Russian people." 

During the reign of Nicholas I too the phenomenon of ritual murder 
trials became more widespread. This charge against the Jews of using 
Christian blood for ritual purposes was not of independent Russian 
origin; it came from Poland. In 1772 Pukulski, a Polish priest, published 
a book under the title Talmudic Tales Told by the Zhids Themselves, in 
which the ritual murder charges were made. This book was translated 
into Russian in 1787. Ritual murder charges were made in various parts 
of the former Warsaw duchy. In the reign of Alexander I such a case 
appeared in Grodno in 1816. But even more important was the notorious 
Velizh case which started in 1823 and was not concluded until twelve 
years later. 

The government made more than one attempt to solve the Jewish 
problem through various special committees and commissions. The 
government also applied cultural measures by establishing schools for 

8 Saul Ginsburg in vol. iii of his Historishe shriften reproduces a number of very interesting 
documents on this subject. One is the "Extensive Instructions to Clergymen of Military 
Establishments with Regard to the Conversion of Jewish Pupils to the Christian Faith," pub- 
lished by the Holy Synod in 1843. Included also are a number of hitherto unpublished 
documents on the history of the cantonists and the forced conversion of Jewish children. 
On p. 62 is published for the first time a secret decree of Nicholas I permitting priests to 
baptize Jewish cantonists without the special permission of the archbishop. 

Dubnow, op. cit., vol. ii, p. 55. 


general education, reorganizing the Jewish hedcrs, the rabbinate, etc. 
Bat because the source of mischief was traced not to the violence exercised 
upon the Jews but mainly to their religious doctrine and to their vicious 
inclinations and habits all efforts were doomed. The government during 
the nineteenth century was repeatedly forced to admit its inability to 
eradicate the "deeply-rooted faults" of the Jewish masses with their 
attachment to "unproductive" and even harmful occupations, and their 
estrangement from the common civil state. In this respect forced assimila- 
tion, the military schools, Chiistianization and the recruiting proved to 
be just as useless as compulsory isolation, the pale, the prohibition of 
education and restrictions as to professions and trades. 

The first half of the reign of Alexander II represents an exception 
to the whole history of Imperial Russia. It was different from the pre- 
ceding periods and also different from the latter part of Alexander's reign. 
In keeping with the general liberal spirit of the great reforms the attitude 
towards the Jews too was free from the traditional, official antisemiric 
outlook. The government continued the policy of trying to bring about 
the assimilation of the Jews to the native population but the elements 
of compulsion were eliminated. The more detestable Jewish "privileges" 
were repealed; the special measures for Jewish military recruits were 
abolished; Jews were admitted to liberal professions and trades and they 
were given greater freedom of settlement. This did not mean, of course, 
that Jews were placed on an equal status with the rest of the population. 
But official or governmental antisemitism, while not disappearing com- 
pletely, took on a much milder form. 

At the same time that official antf$CT"tifffl diminished, however, social 
antisemitism came to the fore. Before the epoch of great reforms of the 
1860's Russian public opinion was only in its early stage of formation. 
The autocratic iron heel suppressed any manifestation of opinion not 
approved from above and public antisemitism, therefore, could exist only 
insofar as it was tolerated or encouraged by the rulingpower. When some 
merchant group or some other such organization, upon their own initia- 
tive and not inspired by the government, made demands which were 
unfavorable toward the Jews their antisemitism was plainly of a covetous 
character, competitors disturbed about their own interests. When Pestel, 
the leader of the Decembrists, however, planned in his Russkia Pravda 
that the future Supreme Provisional Government would banish the Jews 
from Russia and help them establish a separate state in some part of Asia 


Minor, this had no effect on public opinion, for this plan, together with 
the Russkia Pravda of Pestel, was not published until many decades after 
Pestel was executed. 

Antisemitism was able to take on a social character oflly when, with 
the reforms of Alexander II and the advent of freedom of public opinion, 
there was opportunity for free expression. With this opportunity came 
many manifestations of unfriendly attitudes toward the Jews. It is an 
interesting sociological fact that social antiseinitism in Imperial Russia 
burst forth just in the epoch of the liberal reforms of the 60's and 70's 
and, conversely, social antisemitism faded out when the beacons a"d 
mirages inspired by the epoch of great reforms were dimmed. During 
the reign of Alexander II (1855-81) it was not considered shameful to 
identify oneself as an antisemite. Antisemitism began to be defended 
ideologically by such exponents of Russian thought and spirit as Dos- 
toevski, the historian Kostomarov, the head of the Slavophiles, Ivan 
Aksakov, the liberal Golos, the radical Otechestvenniye Zapiski and even 
by some of the ideologists of revolution and socialism. It was only when 
the liberal period was succeeded by the reaction under Alexander III 
(1881-94) and Nicholas II (1894-1917) that the revived official and 
governmental antisemitism forced out the social antisemitism. The 
official antisemitism assumed the functions and tasks of the un- 
official social antisemitism and made the latter unnecessary. With the 
strengthening of the reaction those social forces that were opposed to or 
independent of the government avoided any sort of identification with 
official points of view. It is thus to the Russian autocracy that the Jews 
of Russia are indebted for the absence of social antisemitism in Russia 
and the intellectual barrenness of Russian antisemitism, while just at 
the same time social and intellectual antisemitism was so successful in 
Germany, Austria-Hungary and even France. 

During the second half of the reign of Alexander II the old problem 
which had vexed the former autocrats was again raised: whether the 
Jews are a useful element for the Russian state and whether they are 
capable of blending with the native population. While touring his Polish 
kingdom in 1870 the tsar noticed a number of Hasidim -with their long 
side-curls and long-lapped coats. This not only surprised the tsar but 
disturbed him. To comply with the will of the monarch, the authorities 
began to weed out the "ugly costumes" and the side-curls just as had been 
done in the previous reign. 


During Easter week of 1871 a new method of solving the Jewish 
problem in Russia was introduced. On that day the Greek merchants of 
Odessa, due to competition with the Jewish merchants, started a pogrom 
against the JAvs and some Russians joined the attack. For three days the 
Jews were massacred, their property plundered and destroyed and their 
synagogues defiled, all with the silent co-operation of the police and 
militia, until on the fourth day an order was issued to stop the pogrom. 
This pogrom was used as a technically-organized prototype for all the 
innumerable pogroms which followed the reigns of the son and grandson 
of Alexander II. In the case of this pogrom in Odessa the government 
was concerned lest there be a connection between this public instigation 
and the illegal revolutionary movement. But soon the attitude changed 
from that of fear of pogroms to indifference and even connivance in 
organizing them. 10 

On March 1 (13) , 1881, Alexander II was fatally wounded by a bomb 
thrown by a terrorist-revolutionary and the throne was assumed by 
Alexander III. With the new reign an era of darkest reaction began in 
Russia. Severe persecution of the Jews not only as "pagans" and "ex- 
ploiters," but also as "rebels," enemies of order and "regicides/ 7 became 
the order of the day. Only one Jewess, Hesia Helman, was involved in 
the March 1 event and only in a secondary way but on the day following 
the assassination of the tsar rumors were spread by word of mouth and in 
the press about the inevitably coming "outbreak of public resentment" 
against the Jews. One can judge how tendentious and artificial this 
charge was, from the speech delivered by Samuel S. Cox of New York in 
the House of Representatives on May 21, 1880, i. e. y more than nine 
months before the assassination of Alexander II. Representative Cox said 
in passing: "This persecution of the Hebrew is not because he is ignorant, 
communistic or nihilistic * . . They are advanced; they stand upon a 
higher plane . . . But nihilism does not belong to one sect; nihilism seems 
to be the asylum of despair, and despair is the result of despotism, 
tempered only by assassination." 

The "outbreak" took place simultaneously in a number of different 

10 The best survey of the literature of this subject is found in E. Tcherikower's article, 
"New Materials on the Pogroms in Russia at the Beginning of the '80's," in Historishe 
shriften, published by the Yiddish Scientific Institute (Vilna 1937) vol. ii, p. 463. The same 
volume contains an exceptionally interesting article by N. M. Gelber on "The Russian 
Pogroms in the Early *80's in the Light of the Austrian Diplomatic Correspondence." A 
German digest of this article appeared in Menorah (1927) . 


places and according to a uniformly prearranged plan. The urban rabble 
as a rule was imported from other cities, and peasants from the surround- 
ing area participated in it, while the authorities looked on with indif- 
ference. By their indifference and connivance they sanctioned and insti- 
gated these actions. Beginning in Elisavetgrad, the pogrom movement 
spread to the whole southwestern region. During the year 1881 there 
were pogroms in 215 places, even in such urban centers as Odessa, Kiev 
and Warsaw. Young and old were murdered, women were raped, human 
brains and intestines as well as featherbeds were scattered with the winds. 
Jewish households were wantonly destroyed and plundered, not always in 
a burst of passion, but with a cold-blooded consciousness, as though faith- 
fully performing a duty. There were established cases where the plun- 
derers acted in full belief that a pogrom on Jews represented a kind of 
patriotic service to the "little father," the tsar. In a village in the Cher- 
nigov province the peasants demanded from the village mayor a written 
certificate that they would not be prosecuted by the authorities for not 
participating in "killing the Jews." The mayor complied with their 
demand but for the sake of their own safety the peasants nevertheless 
plundered six of the Jewish houses. 11 

The movement reached such dimensions that the government became 
fearful lest the mob violence be directed against the regime too. The 
tsar's brother, the influential Grand Duke Vladimir, told the representa- 
tive of the Jewish community, Baron Horace Gunzburg, that "the anti- 
Jewish outbreaks have their source not exclusively in the resentment 
against the Jews, but in the attempt to create general unrest." On May 
11, 1881, a Jewish delegation headed by the same Baron Gunzburg was 
received by the tsar. Alexander III also blamed the outbreaks on the 
work of the anarchists but added: "There are, however, economic reasons 
which contributed to these outbreaks, as, for instance, the exploitation of 
the peasants by the Jews." 12 The official version of the cause of the out- 
breaks was thus established: responsible for the pogroms were the rioters- 
anarchists and the Jewish exploiters. The tsar nevertheless commissioned 
one of his royal attendants, Count Kutaysov, to investigate the causes of 
the outbreaks in South Russia. Kutaysov submitted a detailed report in 
which he outlined the cause of unrest as being due to the "abnormal 

n Dubnow, op. dt., vol. ii, p. 257. 

M Dubnow speaks only of "oral rumors" that such was the opinion of the tsar. This is 
officially confirmed in the report of the Austrian Ambassador, Count Kalnoki, of May IS, 
1851. See Gelber, I.e., p. 469. 


relations established between the Christian and Jewish populations. These 
relations, however, axe not doe to conditions created by law, as is assumed 
by the Jews, but by the systematic and incessant exploitation of the 
local Christian population by the Jews and their unlimited aspirations 
and eagerness to acquire riches at the expense of their Christian neigh- 
bors. In addition the Jews display complete indifference to all other 
problems of social life which do not offer any material benefits to them/ 9 
The report went on to say that the spread of the pogrom movement was 
due to the widespread opinion that these attacks were sanctioned by the 
tsar himself. 13 

At this * too public opinion abroad was aroused by the wave of 
pogroms and as a result of this pressure representatives of foreign govern- 
ments undertook a number of official and unofficial steps in favor of the 
Jews, in order to compel the rulers of Russia to modify and soften the 
farms of their antisemitism. Some of these steps were dictated by purely 
considerations, others by foe desire to protect the interests 

of then: citizens (United States) and still others by the desire to protect 
their territories from the influx of Jews fleeing from neighboring Russia 
(Austria-Hungary). 14 In answer to a representation by John Watson 
Foster, United States Minister to Russia, the Russian Foreign Secretary, 
De Gien, T"? 1 ^ rfif> following statement: "America could afford to grant 
equal rights to Jews because the Jews of the United States belong to the 
better category of their race and there is no such necessity there for their 
isolation as exists in Russia." As for Russia, the Jews "are almost ex- 
clusively of Polish origin and form generally a nasty element for socia- 
bility, ire occupied with smuggling illegal trade, are active in revolu- 
tionary conspiracies and plots against the life of the tsar." 18 

It cannot be said that the pogroms of the '80*8 were directed and 
deliberately instigated by the tsar's government. Marginal comments by 
Alexander III are found on many of the government reports on the 

Afafaffcip dfy* fctorfi *r*i#msbkW pognmov v Ro*U (Materials on the History of the 
Anti-Jewish Pogroms in Russia) (1988) voL ii, p. 218, 8-78. 

"The most informative survey of this aspect of the problem is the article by I. LiMdtz on 
"American Intervention in Reference to the Pogrom* in Russia during the Ws," in vol. ii of 
the Historith* sftftyftm. The article fa based on die remffiiscmnra of John Watson Poster, 
American minister at St. Petenborg, and npgn other offldal American scrams, See abo the 
remarkable qpeecb of Samnd & Cox in the House of Representative* on July SI. 1882 "on 
the Persecution of the Jews in Russia." Important too fa the correspondence between the 
Austrian Secretary of the Interior, Count Taafc, and the Foreign Secretary, KalnoU, published 
by, p. 4ttff. 

-Li&hitx, op. tfc, p. 508409. 


pogroms. In these notes we find such remarks as "very sad," "extremely 
sad and perplexing," "it is impossible that no one had a hand in exciting 
people against the Jews. A thorough investigation of all these cases is 
necessary." 16 It did not occur to the tsar that the ignorant masses could 
have been aroused against the Jews by all the legislative and administra- 
tive practises of the government authorities. The inner feeling of the 
tsar toward the Jews is best revealed, however, by the comment he made 
on May 10, 1883 regarding the pogroms in Rostov-on-Don: "It is a great 
pity, but I do not foresee an end to it. The Russians are too much 
disgusted with the Zhids and so long as they continue to exploit Christians 
this hatred will not diminish." While the higher authorities did not 
formally give the orders to organize the pogroms, some of their agents 
did take part in them, partly on their own initiative and taking advantage 
of their official positions. In any case the authorities did not interfere 
with the pogroms nor did they try to mitigate the guilt of the principal 
organizers. Some of the members of the "Sacred League," formed im- 
mediately after the assassination of Alexander II by high officials for 
the sake of guarding the new tsar and the old autocracy, undoubtedly 
were the, guides not only of the governmental policy of antisemitism but 
also of the pogrom movement, and they served as connecting links between 
the court and the gangster elements in the urban "lower depths." 17 

In order to prevent the spread of popular indignation in a direction 
undesirable for the government and in order to quiet international public 
opinion, it was finally decided to put a stop to bloody pogroms. In place of 
the bloody pogrom, however, came the "dry pogrom," the legal extermina- 
tion of Jewish well-being and the destruction of their personal and 
national dignity. On May 3, 1882, the so-called "Temporary Rules" 
were approved by the tsar without deliberation by the State Council, and 
these rules were applied with inexorable severity during the following 
three and a half decades. The chief author and leading spirit behind 
these "Rules," the Minister of Interior, Count Ignatyev, saw the necessity 
for severe restrictions upon the Jews in the fact that they were "real 
bloodsuckers," and "leeches, sucking the blood of the honest working 
people." "What can we do," explained Ignatyev to the American Charg6 
d'affaires in St. Petersburg, Hoffman, "if on the one hand there are five 

16 R. Kantor has collected these marginal notes of Alexander III from the Russian archives 
and published them in Evreiskaya Letopis, vol. i (1928) 156 ff. 
^Tcherikover, op. cit. f p. 449-50. 


million Russian Jews and on the other hand eighty-five million Russian 
subjects who insist that we expel from the empire these five million 
Jews?" 18 Not all the statesmen, however, shared this point of view. For 
instance, the chairman of the Committee of Ministers, Count Reutern, 
during the deliberations concerning Ignatyev's "Rules," said at the con- 
clusion of the debate: "The governmental authorities remain inactive in 
the face of obvious Jew-baiting. . . . Today they hunt and rob Jews, 
tomorrow they will go after so-called kulaks, who morally are the same as 
Jews only of the Orthodox Christian faith, then merchants and land- 
owners may be next. In a word, in the face of such inactivity on the part 
of the authorities, we may expect in a not distant future the develop- 
ment of the most horrible socialism. . . ." 19 

By the "Temporary Rules" the government deprived the Jews of the 
right to settle in villages outside of cities and towns; Jews were forbidden 
to acquire or rent real property outside of cities and towns; they were 
forbidden to do any trading on Sundays and Christian holidays. Educa- 
tional opportunities were again limited. They were restricted in the 
practise of the liberal professions and were not permitted to occupy gov- 
ernmental positions. The autocratic government obviously was weary of 
"its" Jews. As Ignatyev very unceremoniously expressed himself: "It is 
true that the settling of Jews over the whole area of the empire is harmful 
to the interests of the native population. The 'pale* cannot be spread 
further to the east. The western border, however, is open for the Jews. . . . 
Their emigration would not be subect to any restrictions." To this policy 
the autocratic government remained true to the end of its days, only 
varying and perfecting the methods of intolerance and persecution of 

The Judeophobia and the governmental antisemitism increased after 
the accidental wrecking of the tsar's train at the Borki station, on October 
17, 1888, when Alexander III with his whole family escaped death. Alex- 
ander's escape from death was interpreted by the tsar's spiritual adviser, 
Pobedonostzev, as "a sign from above," as "a miracle" and as "the divine 
finger," indicating to the monarch to turn away from the path of reform 
and to lead Russia back to the path of piety of the days before Peter the 
Great. The court clergy, moreover, interpreted the Gospels as prescribing 
hatred of those who crucified Christ. These comments made due impres- 

*Lishitz, op. cit., p. 513. 

* Peretz, E. A. Dnevnik (Diary) (Moscow 1927) p. 131-33. 


sion on the limited though God-fearing mind of the autocrat. When in 
1890 one of his statesmen laid before the tsar a memorandum presenting 
reasons for the cessation of repressions against Jews, Alexander commented: 
"But we must never forget that the Jews crucified our Lord and shed His 
precious blood/' 20 

When in October, 1894 Alexander III died and Nicholas II succeeded 
him, the general policies as well as the policies toward the Jews did not 
change in any way. In his very first public speeches Nicholas emphasized 
that he was going "to serve our dearly beloved country in the same way 
as did my late father and lead it on the bright and radiant path indicated 
by him." "Let it be known to all that devoting all my power to the 
welfare of my people, I will guard the fundamentals of autocracy with the 
same firmness and strictness as my unforgettable late father did/' 21 
Obedient to his father's will Nicholas retained as his spiritual preceptor 
and political adviser Pobedonostzev, the Procurator of the Holy Synod, 
"the inquisitor of the Church," as he was called by the more liberal 
Orthodox folk, and an ardent hater of Jewry. Pobedonostzev had a pro- 
gram of his own for. the solution of the Jewish problem in Russia: "One 
third will die out, the other third will emigrate, the rest will dissolve itself 
without leaving any traces" (i.e., will become Christians) , 22 Outspokenly 
antisemitic were also the nearest relatives of the tsar, his uncle and brother- 
in-law, the Grand Duke Sergei Aleksandrovich, who occupied the post of 
Governor-General of Moscow. 

During the first decade of the new reign the governmental antisemitism 
manifested itself in legal restrictions and administrative persecutions. All 
the former restrictions of rights, previously mentioned, far from being 
mitigated, assumed more aggressive forms. Anti-Jewish pogroms occa- 
sionally took place but they were of episodic and local character, as the 
pogrom in Shpola (province of Kiev) on February 18-19, 1897; the three- 
day pogrom in Nikolaiev, Easter, 1899, and the quickly liquidated pogrom 

* Dubnow, S., "Furor Judophobicus During the Last Years of the Reign of Alexander III/' 
in Evreishaya Starina, vol. x (1918) 28. See also Frederic, H., The New Exodus, A Study of 
Israel in Russia (London 1892) p. 173. See also Weber, John B., and Kempster, W., A Report 
of the Commissioners of Immigration upon the Causes which Incite Immigration to the United 
States (Washington 1892) , accompanied by "An Abridged Summary of Laws, Special and 
Restrictive, Relative to the Jews in Russia, Brought down to the Year 1890." 

Speeches of Oct. 31, 1894 and Jan: 17, 1895. See Pravitelstvennyi Vestnik for 1894, no. 239 
and for 1895, no. 14. 

** Dubnow, S. M., Evreii v Rosii v tsarstvovanvye Nikolaya II (The Jews in Russia Under 
Nicholas II) (Petrograd 1922) p. 5. 


in Czestochowa on August 19, 1902. The ominous shadow of a new ritual 
murder charge appeared for a while in March, 1900 in Vilna in the case 
of the Jewish barber Blondes. 28 

Conditions became much worse in 1903 and the years following. A 
quarter o a century of reaction had nurtured the revolutionary movement. 
Sensing the growing movement of workers and peasants and irritated by 
the direct attacks of terrorists the government decided on the policy of 
trying to drown the rising revolutionary conflagration in blood both by 
starting the senseless war with Japan and on the home front by making 
bloody attacks on Jews. In retaliation for the participation by some Jews 
in the revolutionary movement all the Jews had to be penalized, even 
those who had not taken any part in it. A lesson given to Jews in one of 
the border cities of Russia, in Kishenev, the capital of Bessarabia, was 
supposed to be a warning also to all the other nationalities who filled the 
ranks of the revolutionists, the Poles, the Georgians, the Armenians, etc. 

The Kishenev pogrom of 1903 was prepared by government agents 
and, particularly,, by the Lieutenant-Governor of Bessarabia, Ustrugov, 
and a member of the police department, Levendal. Assistance to the 
pogrom by non-interference was also given by other agents of the govern- 
ment, headed by the governor and the commander of the garrison. These 
facts are responsible for the incredible cruelty of the pogrom: in two days 
45 were murdered and 86 were severely and about 500 slightly injured; 
some 1,500 Jewish houses and stores were demolished and plundered. The 
monstrous pogrom of Kishenev was followed by a pogrom in Homel on 
August 29 of the same year. The local governor frankly divulged the 
"meaning" and the cause of the event: "The Jews have now become the 
leaders and instigators in all movements directed against the government. 
This entire Blind and the Social-Democrats they are all Jews. You are 
yourselves to blame for all that happened. You do not educate your 
children properly. You have no influence over them. But at least you 
can surrender them, poiming them out to the government, whereas you 
conceal them." 24 Only at the price of surrender by Jewish parents of their 
ill-educated and revolutionary children was the government willing to 
give up the pogrom as a new method of ruling and controlling the stubborn 
Jews. From now on the pogrom always hung as a threat over the heads 
and conscience of the Jewish population in tsarist Russia. A pogrom was 

See Gruzenbexg, O. O., Vchera (Yesterday) (Paris 1988) p. U2-1& 
"Dubnow, History of the Jews in Russia and Poland, vol. iii; gs 8& 


used as a threat, as a warning, as an argumentsometimes even by liberal 
defenders of Jews, who failed to sense that the very discussion of the 
question whether it is permissible or not to "beat the Zhids" was insulting. 
The Jewish pogroms, large and small ones, not only entered into the 
tsarist system of governing Russia, but general lawlessness and injustice 
became a part of everyday life itself. From 1903 on antisemitism became 
inextricably linked with the domestic and foreign policies of the tsarist 

As the autocratic government was compelled to make some concessions 
to the growing liberal and revolutionary movements it also was forced to 
abolish some of the more glaring legal restrictions against the Jews. But 
in this direction the tsar's government was particularly unyielding, miserly 
and stubborn. In the very first act in which the government, defeated by 
Japan on land and sea, juridically surrendered before the principle of a 
state based on law, it also announced a "revision of existing rules and 
regulations, restricting the rights of non-natives." As usual, of course, a 
joker concerning Jews was not omitted: with the condition, "that of the 
aforementioned (existing) rules and regulations only those be retained 
that are required by the essential interests of the state and clearly needed 
for the benefit of the Russian people." 25 It was the same "essential inter- 
ests" and "clear benefit," however, which had inspired all the previous 
restrictions against Jews. 

Russia entered the period of so-called "pseudo-constitutionalism" on 
October 17, 1905 with the granting of a "constitution" and the creation 
of the Imperial Duma. The tsar continued to consider and call himself, 
however, "By the Grace of God Emperor and Autocrat of All Russia." 
Governmental policy toward the Jews continued to be openly hostile. Up 
to his death Nicholas II displayed sharp and open antagonism toward Jews. 
For him they were still the enemies of Christ as well as the enemies of the 
tsar, the bearer of autocratic power. 

In the conflict between the autocracy and the revolution the Jews 
appeared in the front line, sometimes even only nominally. To the slogan 
of the revolutionary and liberal movement, "Down with the Autocracy," 
the government forces replied with the antisemitic and reactionary cries: 
"Kill the revolutionists and the Zhids/' "Kill the Zhids save Russia and 
the tsar." A new series of pogroms began during the Passover season of 
1905. Assaults took place in Bialystok, in the little town o Dusyaty, in 

uzakovenii (1904) Dec. 14, no. 189, article 1916* 


Zhitomir and in the neighboring town of Troyanov. During the summer 
pogroms took place in Minsk, Brest-Litovsk, Siedlce, Lodz and Kertch. 
But all this was only a rehearsal and prelude to the bloody orgy that dis- 
played itself over all of Russia on October 18-25, 1905, as a convulsive 
reaction of the "patriotic" counter-revolution to the tsar's proclamation 
of October 17, 1905 on the liberalization of the regime. In the course of 
one week some fifty bloody pogroms took place in such centers as Odessa, 
Kiev, Kishinev, Simferopol, Chernigov, Nikolaiev, Ekaterinoslav and 
other places altogether a nightmare of 670 pogroms! The destruction 
was carried out in a systematic and planned manner, in full conviction of 
the justice of the acts and that it pleased the powers that be with the 
Christian tsar at the head. The destruction enjoyed the open as well as 
secret cooperation of the local agents of the government and the mobs 
carried in front of them portraits of the tsar, national flags and church 

Toward the end of 1904 a new antisemitic organization was formed 
after the pattern of Alexander Ill's Sacred League. The new organization 
was "The League of the Russian People,'* with its secret "Fighting 
Squadron," recruited from the lower agents of the secret and regular 
police and the gendarmerie, and with expenses paid by the government. 
It is interesting to note that the chief initiator of the new "Fighting 
Squadron" was Peter Rachkovski, who in 1881, as an insignificant young 
government functionary, was a member of the "Holy Squadron" and 
engaged in pogrom propaganda in Moscow and in Kiev under the com- 
mand of Governor-General Drenteln. Rachkovski likewise had a hand 
in the spread of the notorious Protocols of the Elders of Zion. 2Q He con- 

88 The "Protocols" first appeared in the newspaper Znamya (The Banner) , published in 
St. Petersburg by Krushevan, one of the principal inspirers of the Kishenev pogrom. The 
"Protocols" appeared in 9 issues, from Aug. 28 to Sept. 7, 1903, under the title, Programma 
zavayevaniya mira evreiami (A Jewish Program to Conquer the World) . These articles were 
reprinted in 1905 in pamphlet form but under a different title by a certain Butmi. At the 
same time again, the "Protocols" were published by the Staff of the Army of St. Petersburg 
Military Region under the title, Koren nashikh bedstvii (The Root of Our Misfortunes) . Later 
other editions appeared. According to evidence produced by E. M. Tcherikover, who made a 
special investigation of this subject, "up to the Bolshevik revolution of October, 1917 neither 
the press nor public opinion in Russia gave any attention to the 'Protocols/ and even the 
Jewish press hardly responded to them. The articles in the Znamya were generally unnoticed, 
very few knew about the book by Nilus, more was known about Butmi, but mainly due to 
his role in the League of the Russian People." See also Burtzev, V. L., Protokoly Sionskikh 
tnudretzov (The Protocols of the Wise Men of Zion) (Paris 1938) and the review of the same 
by this author in Jewish Social Studies, voL i (1939) 259-61. Concerning the role of Rachkovski 
in building up the fraud of the "Protocols," see the article by S. Svatikov in Evreiskaya Tribuna 
(Paris 1921) no. 87; also American Hebrew (1921) nos, 15-16. 


tinued to engage in the same kind of antisemitic pogrom activity during 
the reign of Nicholas II. When he became vice-director of the police 
department, in charge of its political division, he set up in 1905 within 
the police department building itself a secret printing shop for the publi- 
cation of pogrom literature against revolutionaries and Jews. 27 

The convocation of the Duma had no effect on the continued pogrom 
activity. On May 8, 1906 there was a bloody pogrom at Bialystok. When 
interpellations were made in the Duma during its session of June 8 one 
of the members, Prince Urussov, a former assistant minister of the interior, 
confirmed the fact that the secret printing shop of the police department 
published "patriotic" proclamations calling upon the people to do away 
with the Jews. He also quoted a statement by a gendarmerie officer who 
assured Prince Urussov that "a pogrom may be arranged on whatever 
scale you please, whether it be against ten people or against ten thou- 
sand." 28 On July 7, 1906 the Duma adopted a resolution severely censuring 
the government for its shameful antisemitic policy. The next day the 
Duma itself became the object of violence by the same government. By 
the tsar's ukase the Duma was dissolved, seventy-two days after it was 
convoked. And pogroms continued: on August 13 a pogrom in Siedlce 
resulted in the killing of thirty people and the wounding of one hundred 

The antisemitic, pogrom-making "League of the Russian People" now 
became the unofficial agent of the government. At its head stood Dr. 
Dubrovin, Purishkevich, Markov the Second, and a number of government 
officials such as the mayors of St. Petersburg and Odessa, Governor-General 
Kaulbars, Count Konovnitzyn and others. The program of "The League 
of Russian People" declared: "The well-being of the people is based on 
the firm preservation of Orthodox Christianity, unrestricted Russian 
autocracy and nationalism." 29 Just before the dissolution of the first 
Duma the Chief Council of the League made up a so-called "List of 43," 
enumerating individuals who were to be subject to immediate extermina- 
tion. Among these were Count Witte, whom the 4 League members 
considered as the author of the constitution, liberal statesmen such as 
Milyukov and Rodichev, and the most prominent Jewish political and 

Count Witte in his reminiscences writes: "The provoking activity of the police depart- 
ment in organizing the pogroms showed dear results in Homel in 1905." See his Vospominaniya 
(Berlin 1922) vol. ii, p. 71-73, 75. 

* Dubnow, op. cit., vol. iii, p. 158. 

*Soyuz russkago naroda, p. 411. , 


social leaders, Vinaver, Gruzenberg, Sliozberg, Joseph Hessen, the members 
of the Duma, Herzenstein, YoUes and others. 80 The last two were soon 
murdered by paid agents of the League. The tsar himself was not averse 
to using the membew of the League as a support for his throne. On 
December 23, 1905 he gave a friendly audience to a deputation of the 
League and said to them: "Unite the Russian people, I count on youl" 
And after the League members assassinated Herzenstein and Yolles and 
the Jewish pogroms became their particular specialty, Nicholas was not 
ashamed to adorn his chest with the badge of the League. 

The personal participation of Nicholas II in the antisemitic activities 
of his government has been recently revealed in the memoirs of Count 
Kokovtzev, former minister of the treasury and prime minister after the 
sination of Stolypin. Kokovtzev relates that soon after the dissolution 

of the First Duma the prime minister, Stolypin, called together his col- 
leagues to consider "a confidential problem that had worried him for a 
long time." Stolypin asked whether it might not be worthwhile to remove 
some of the restrictions against the Jews which "are particularly annoying 
to the Jewish population erf Russia and, being of no real benefit to the 
Russian population because they are always circumvented by the Jews, 
they give food only to the revolutionary feelings of the Jewish masses and 
serve as a stimulus for the most outrageous anti-Russian propaganda on 
the part of the powerful Jewish center in America." 81 A "Journal of the 
Council of Ministers" was prepared CHI this subject with a statement of 
two opposing opinions, a more liberal opinion presented by the minister 
of foreign affairs, Levolski, and a more conservative opinion presented by 
Schwanebach. The Journal was then presented to the tsar for instructions 
as to how the problem was to be presented to the legislative assemblies for 
deliberation. The tsar kept the Journal for a long time and finally returned 
it on December 10, 1906 with a personal letter to Stolypin. The latter 
permitted Kokovtzev to make a copy of this letter and it is now reproduced 
in Kokovtzev's memoirs. This historical document throws a bright light 
not only on the tsar's views on Jews but on his character in general. 
Nicholas II wrote as follows to his prime minister: "I return to you the 
Journal of the Council of the M inisters on the Jewish problem without 
my confirmation. In spite of the quite convincing reasons in favor of an 

y p. 86. 

Kohoviwv, V. N,& ye pM**, 1910-1919 (Bnninltnmon erf My Part, 1908-1919) 


affirmative solution, in this case my inner voice more urgently tells me 
not to take this decision upon myself. Up to this time my conscience has 
never misled me. That is why in this case too I am inclined to follow its 
commands. I know you also believe that *a tsar's heart is in the hands of 
God/ Be it so. I carry the great responsibility before God for all my 
appointees and I am ready at any time in all that to give account to Him." 32 

The "inner voice" whispered to the tsar's heart to abstain from miti- 
gating the government repression of the Jews. The tsar's servants would 
not be servants of the tsar if they did not know how to grasp his views 
and plans. And Stolypin, during the entire period of his power, far from 
attempting to soften the restrictions against the Jews became more in- 
human toward them than before. The "Right of Settlement" of Jews 
became more restricted, they were expelled from cities, the numerus 
clausus for Jewish students was decreased still more, Jewish schools were 
closed and the development of Jewish national self-assertion was restrained. 
This antisemitic policy of the government was supported also by the 
majority of the members of the nationalist, conservative and antisemitic 
Third Duma. Well could N. M. Fridman, one of the two Jewish deputies 
in the Third Duma, declare in February, 1910: "In the hardest times that 
the Jews lived through during the rule of Minister Plehve there was never 
so much cruelty and bestiality as is practised at the present time." 33 

The tsar's autocratic government refused to consider any friendly pleas 
in behalf of the Jews. The lawlessness reached not only Russian Jews but 
also Jews of other countries who found themselves temporarily within the 
tsar's domains. In 1911 Sir Herbert Samuel, a member of the British 
cabinet, decided to make a trip to Russia and to visit. St. Petersburg. As 
a Jew, he was obliged to procure a special permit for such a visit. After 
this special restriction for him as a Jew became known to him, Sir Herbert 
abandoned the idea of the trip. In the United States a similar situation 
resolved itself not into an individual but an official protest. Restrictions 
against American Jews reflected unfavorably on the interests of American 
trade and industry and at the end of November, 1911 the House of 
Representatives passed, by a vote of 300 to 1, a resolution to abrogate the 
trade pact with Russia of 1832, in view of the fact that the Russian govern- 
ment restricted Jewish citizens of the United States in rights 'belonging to 

jQi&rg. 2S8-39. 

* Dubaow^ j&vfeii v Rosii, p. 79. 


them under the American constitution. This resolution was unanimously 
adopted by the Senate. 34 

During the reign of Nicholas II came also the most notorious of all 
ritual murder trials, that of Mendel Beilis in 1913. In this case all the 
forces revolving around the Jewish problem in Russia came to the fore. 
The government ministers used all their energies to have Beilis convicted 
and the real murderers of the young Andrey Yushchinski, members of a 
band of thieves known to the police, evade trial and investigation. The 
official paper of The League of the Russian People, the Russkoye Znamya 
(Russian Banner), which was very close to government circles, thus 
formulated the issues of the trial: "The government's duty is to consider 
the Jews as a nation just as dangerous for the life of humanity as wolves, 
scorpions, snakes, poisonous spiders and other creatures which are doomed 
to destruction because of their rapaciousness towards human beings and 
whose annihilation is commended by law. . . . The Zhids must be put 
in such conditions that they will gradually die out." 85 

The case was given a scientific staging. The prosecution falsified the 
medico-legal evidence; the police department, with the tsar's knowledge 
and sanction, remunerated the zeal of the necessary experts; the ministry 
of justice took care of the selection of suitable jurymen in order to insure 
for the government the necessary verdict of guilty. The chief organizer 
and lawyer of Beilis' defense concluded his speech in court by addressing 
not the jury but the defendant: "It is possible, Beilis, that you will go 
to perdition innocently. What can we do? It is hardly more than 200 
years since your forefathers, on similar accusations, perished at the stake. 
Resignedly, with prayers on their lips they went to their unjust execution. 
Why should you be better than they? You must proceed the same way. 
Your destruction is horrible, but still more horrible is the possibility itself 
of such accusations to occur here, under the shelter of reason, conscience 
and law." 86 

* Congressional Record, vol. xlviii, part i, p. 311-353, and part xii, p. 698-703. On December 
16, 1911, the U. S. ambassador in Petersburg, Guild, cabled to the Secretary of State, P. C. 
Knox, that the Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sazonov during an interview declared 
"not cynically but seriously, that he was prepared to consider an arrangement by which the 
United States might co-operate for the transfer of all Jews from Russia to the 'United States. 
He said that Russian experience was that their presence in Russia was a perpetual menace not 
only to the integrity of the Empire, but to law and order." See Papers Relating to Foreign 
Relations, 1911 (Washington 118) p. 696-97. 

35 See Tager, A. S., The Decay of Czarism (Philadelphia 1935) . Tager reproduces in this 
work the exceptionally interesting correspondence of the Russian ministers Kokovtsev, Shcheg- 
lovitov, Makarov, Sazonov and others. 

m Gruzenberg, O., op. cit.,,p. 114, 


The progressive elements in Russian society were highly indignant 
over this slander on Jews. The most prominent Russian writers, scientists 
and political leaders, Korolenko, Gorky, Merezhkovski, Sologub, Leonid 
Andreyev, Alexander Block, Chirikov, Maxim Kovalevski, Milyukov, 
Kareyev, Arsenyev, Semevski, Petrunkevich, Rodichev, Nabokov and 
others signed a proclamation which said: "Again an unbelievable lie is 
thrown into the masses about Jews using Christian blood. This is the 

well-known way of old fanaticism In this lie resounds the same hatred 

that once upon a time threw the dark heathen mob on the first followers 
of the Christian faith. Not so long ago in China the same story about the 
use of children's blood, put in circulation by the priests against the mis- 
sionaries, resulted in several hundred local Christian Europeans losing 
their lives." 37 Similar indignation was aroused by the Beilis case among 
the eminent representatives of culture in Western Europe and America. 
Jaurfes, Bonar Law, Brentano, Gerhart Hauptmann, Anatole France, 
Aulard, Sgnobos, Masaryk, Leroy Beaulieu and others all raised their 
voices in protest against the tsarist government. 

All the efforts and expense of the government were in vain and did 
not bring the desired result. Even the packed jury gave Beilis a verdict 
of not guilty. In this way public opinion, through the jury, openly pro- 
nounced guilty the accusers of Beilis and the organizers of the trial, which 
meant the government itself. Gruzenberg, the, leading attorney for Beilis, 
well remarks in his recently published memoirs that "the monarchical 
regime of Russia committed moral suicide in the Beilis case." Physically 
the autocracy was killed by the World War. But before it finally disap- 
peared from the scene of history it was able once more to pollute the 
Russian and international atmosphere with the poisonous emanations of 
a new slander and new calumny directed against the Jews. 

The coming of the war in 1914 brought additional hardships to 
Russian Jewry. Wounded Jewish soldiers who happened to be outside 
the pale were sent back to the restricted area. Scant recognition was given 
to Jews who distinguished themselves in the fighting. The Jewish com- 
munities of Kurland and Kovno as well as of other provinces on the front 
were expelled and transferred to other parts of the country. Military 
courts were particularly severe in cases where Jews were involved. The 
practise of taking prominent Jews as hostages was widely used. Pogroms 
came with the retreat of the Russian armies in Galicia, Poland and 

K Lozinski, S., Sotsialnye komi antisemitizma (The Social Roots of Antisemitism) (Rostov 
p. 20&. 


Lithuania in the summer and autumn of 1915. Particularly harmful was 
the dissemination by the government of charges of treason and espionage 
against the Jewish people as a whole. Such charges in particular were 
bound to provoke and aggravate the sentiment of ill feeling towards the 
Jews in the army and in the nation at large. 

The official version concerning "J 6 ^* 1 espionage" was also dictated 
by practical purposes: to mask, at least partially, the lack of ability and 
criminal unpreparedness for war of the central administration and the 
military command. Thus, in an order to the armies of the fortified district 
of Novogeorgievsk the Jews were denounced as "faithful allies of the 
enemies of Russia." On the streets of Lemberg and other cities in Galicia 
placards in Polish and German were placed in full view which read: "In 
order to free . . . our armies from espionage, which the Jews practise on 
our whole front, the Commander-in-Ghief forbids the Jews to reside in 
the area of the army and to enter in the area west of the city of Yaroslavl. 
Also in order to prevent cases of slandering the peaceful population and 
to discover the espionage of the Jews, he ruled that hostages should be 
taken, who are to be punished (execution by hanging) . For each peaceful 
inhabitant who will be denounced to the enemy authorities and also for 
each captured Jewish spy two Jewish hostages will be responsible." This 
is only one of the numerous illustrations of that last word that the dying 
autocratic government addressed to its Jewry, deprived of all rights? 8 

* * * ^* 

The history of antisemitism in tsarist Russia cannot be reproduced 
and understood only as a result of economic relations and social struggles 
of different classes. Of course economics and social contradictions, just 
as psychological habits and religious dissensions, had their influence on 
the forms, character, dimensions and intensity which antisemitism assumed 
at different times and under different circumstances. But just because 
Imperial Russia in the whole course of its two hundred years of history 
was and remained autocratic Russia, the personal policy, psychology and 
world conception of the autocrat provided the imprint for antisemitism in 


See 1z chiornoi knigi rosiiskago evreistra" (From the Black Book of Russian Jewry) in 
Eureiskaya starina, Ttd. x (1918) 195-296, particularly p. 219, 251, 264. Included here arc also 
a number of notes compiled by M. M. Vinaver, S. M. Dubnow, D. O, Zaslavski and G. M. 
Erlich on subjects pertaining to the situation of the Russian Jews during' the war years. 


There is an anecdote current among American Jews of Eastern Euro- 
pean origin which illustrates their view of Polish antisemitism. The story 
tells of a Jewish innkeeper who, during the Polish insurrection of 1863, 
risked his own life to save the life of a Polish nobleman who had taken 
refuge in the Jew's cellar. On bringing down some food to the cellar the 
Jew forgetfully failed to uncover his head before the nobleman. The 
Polish aristocrat flew into a rage, stamped his feet and shouted, "Take off 
your hat, you dirty Jew!" (Neither the source nor the historical accuracy 
of this anecdote has been verified but the social historian may well apply 
here the proverb: Se non e vero, e ben trovato* Even if the story does 
not reflect the fundamental attitude of most of the Polish people towards 
the Jews, it does reflect the picture which Jews themselves have drawn 
of the special character of Polish antisemitism. 

The character of antisemitism in a given country can be explained 
only in terms of the specific social, economic and political forces operating 
within that country. Racial, religious or mystical theories of antisemitism 
are inadequate to explain the peculiar developments in individual coun- 
tries. An analysis of the special character of Polish antisemitism, therefore, 
must be related to the social and economic evolution of the country and 
to the special role of the Jews in Polish history. 

During the Middle Ages antisemitic outbreaks in Poland came at a 
later date and were comparatively weaker than in Central Europe. This 
was due largely to the retarded development of the country. The early 
Jewish immigrants into Poland from the West were engaged chiefly in 
moneylending and, to a lesser extent, in commerce. Jewish moneylenders 
played an important role in the economic development of the backward 
country. The landed nobility required money to develop intensive agri- 

1 Yefaeskiel Kotik asserts in his memoirs (Maine zikhroincs* Berlin 1922, vol. i, p. 271) that 
incidents such as the one mentioned in this anecdote were frequent during the Polish 
insurrection of 1865. 



culture on their large estates, and they received their loans mainly from 
Jews. The rise of towns in the 13th and 14th centuries also stimulated 
the need for more capital, which could be supplied chiefly by Jews. This 
need for capital in the economically undeveloped Poland was the chief 
reason that the rulers of Poland encouraged Jewish immigration and 
granted them protection and unlimited rights of trade. 

The chief disseminator of antisemitism in Poland during this period 
was the Catholic Church. In Poland in particular the Church was fearful 
of possible religious influence by Jews on the Christians. The fear of 
spreading heresies came as a result of the comparatively late development 
of Christianity in Poland and the greater chance, therefore, of heretical 
sects like the Waldensians taking hold among the people. (This motive 
is clearly revealed in a declaration by the synod of the Polish church in 
1267 in Breslau (at that time a Polish city) . The synod demanded the 
strict segregation of Jews from Christians through the creation of separ- 
ate Jewish sections in the towns. The reason advanced was that "the 
Polish land is a new part of the Christian organism," that there was danger 
"lest the Christians become infected with the superstitions and evil prac- 
tices of the Jews," and "in order that the Christian faith be sooner and 
more easily inculcated into the hearts of the faithful/^jThe only recorded 
assaults on Jews in Poland before the middle of the 14th century come 
within the category of antisemitism disseminated by the Church/They 
have to do with attacks on Jews by schoolboys during the reign of 
Mieczyslaw III at the dose of the 1 2th century. These assaults, however, 
can hardly be considered as reflecting any antisemitic feelings of the 
population as a whole. At the very same time coins were circulating in 
Poland bearing Hebrew inscriptions stamped by the Jewish keepers of 
the mint, j 

A change in the situation came about in the second half of the 14th 
century with the development of towns. The Polish merchant class 
became strong enough to attempt a struggle against their Jewish competi- 
tors. At the same time legal restrictions on their activity as moneylenders 
turned the Jews more and more to commercial pursuits. 2 Thus was 
initiated the struggle between the Polish merchants and the Jews, a 

Through mortgage loans Jews frequently had come into possession of large estates and 
even of entire villages. The Polish nobility, however, was anxious to bar other classes of 
the population from free ownership of land. Thus the same law of 1423, which empowered 
the noblemen to dismiss the village bailiffs from their offices in order to deprive them of 
their landed property, also forbade Jews to lend money on mortgage. 


struggle which has continued up to the present day and which has been 
the main source of antisemitism in Poland. 

\The record of anti-Jewish outbreaks in Poland during the 14th and 
15th centuries testifies clearly to the economic character of the prevailing 
antisemitism. The first pogroms are recorded briefly in a chronicle of 
1349 without any indication as to the localities in which the excesses took 
place. In 1367 there was a pogrom in Poznan, in the most westerly and 
economically most developed part of Poland. Pogroms are frequently 
recorded during the 15th century in Poznan as well as in Cracow, In the 
eastern part of Poland, however, the first anti-Jewish riots do not occur 
until 1498 in the city of Lwow. The more retarded the region, therefore, 
the later the rise of anti-Jewish activities. It must be said, however, that 
in eastern Poland the mixed character of the Christian population Poles, 
Germans, Ruthenians, Armenians made it more difficult to create a solid 
anti-Jewish bloc. Moreover, among the Christians were many schismatics, 
who were also exposed to the assaults of Catholic fanatics. In 1463 the 
Polish crusaders, inarching against the Turks, plundered Ruthenian 
heretics together with Jewish infidels. 

To be sure, the Church also played its role in the antisemitic move- 
ments of the 15th-century Poland. Many outbreaks against Jews were 
disguised as vengeance for alleged desecration of the host or for the ritual 
murder of Christian children. The movement against the Hussites as well 
as the crusades against the Turks also brought further action against the 
Jews. John Capistrano, who came to Poland in 1454 to lead in the fight 
against the Hussites and Turks, also incited the population against the 
Jews and this led to pogroms in several Polish towns. On the other hand, 
these religious factors would never have been so successful were it not for 
the economic factor of the growing competition between the Christian 
merchants and the Jews. The economic background of these pogroms 
during the second half of the 15th century is substantiated by the fact that 
all the larger towns of Poland, like Poznan, Cracow, Lwow and Sando- 
mierz, at this time compelled the Jewish communities to conclude "vol- 
untary" agreements whereby the rights of Jewish merchants were limited 
or, as in the case of Cracow, whereby Jews were excluded from commerce 
almost entirely^) 

During the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries Poland was consolidated 


as a state under the dominance of the nobility. The economic backward- 
ness of the country was responsible for the unparalleled weakness of the 
bourgeoisie, which was not able in consequence to give support to the 
king in his vain efforts to rescue his political power. The nobility in its 
turn used its political power to suppress the bourgeoisie and to deprive 
it even of those meager political rights which it had enjoyed during the 
Middle Ages. With the exception of a number of the largest cities, the 
cities and towns in Poland became the property of the nobility or subject 
to officials of the nobleman. 

At the same time the social and economic structure of Polish Jewry 
was changed. In the cities the occupation of moneylending disappeared 
almost entirely among the Jews and was replaced by commerce. But the 
hindrances devised by the Christian city dwellers were severe. Jews were 
excluded from a number of large cities, except during fairs and market 
days. In others, limitations were put upon them with regard to retail 
trade and important articles of merchandise. A great many Jews, (by the 
eighteenth century the number reached half of all Jewish city dwellers) 
turned to handicraft Large numbers dispersed in the small towns owned 
by noblemen, where they were protected by the proprietors from op- 
pression on the part of the Christian inhabitants. Still a larger number 
of Jews (in the eighteenth century this number amounted to one-third 
of the whole Jewish population of Poland) settled in the villages owned 
exclusively by the nobility. The village Jews were occupied for the most 
part as innkeepers and as stewards of the noblemen's mills, breweries, 
distilleries, dairy farms, bridge tolls and the like. A considerable number 
of Jcuin iipirhny In TTnthimin rind in |I T III ^ * managed to farm 
entire villages from the landowners, thus getting the power of ruling over 
the peasants. The political status of the Jews in Poland underwent changes 
corresponding to die growing social and political power of the nobility. 
Instead of being subjected only to the king and his highest officials, the 
majority of Jews, living now in the small towns and villages, became, like 
the peasants, subjects of the noblemen. 

(polish antisemitic literature of the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 
similarly reflects the hostility of the bourgeoisie. Almost all the authors 
of the numerous anti-Jewish pamphlets came from the urban classes. 
There were no noblemen among them. The most prominent of these 
authors, Sebastyan Miczynski, wrote his "Mirror of the Polish Crown," 
to all appearances, upon the commission of 'the town council of Cracow. 


The arguments used in most of these pamphlets deal with religious 
chaiges against the Jews but they center around the economic competi- 
tion of the Jews. The mere fact that Jews are engaged in commerce is a 
crime in the eyes of these antisemites since "they take the trade away 
from the city," i.* v from the Christian merchants. The Jews, it is alleged, 
are more successful because of their connections with merchants in adja- 
cent countries, through their organization of networks of branches 
throughout the country and because of their being content with lower 
profits. We see here an attack upon Jewish merchants not only as com- 
petitors but also as pioneers of more rationalistic forms of capitalist organi- 
zationmanifestations which down through the 19th century are attacked 
as "Jewish perfidy and slyness." 

Another jfield in which Jewish competition caused resentment was 
that of handicraft. Here too the mere participation of Jews as tailors, 
furriers, hatmakers, goldsmiths and the like was sufficient to arouse the 
indignation of the non-Jewish artisans. Jews, along with non-Catholic 
Christians, were excluded from the craft gilds. But the Jews, as the 
more recent newcomers to these fields, were viewed with greater hostility 
than the others. The more experienced Christian artisan looked disdain- 
fully upon the work of the Jewish artisans as shoddy and unqualified. 
The term "Jewish work" became for centuries a synonym for cheap and 
trashy work. In reality the "cheap work" was rather the result of the new 
system of organization of handicraft The Jewish artisans, excluded from 
the gilds, started the production of standard articles for sale and thus they 
became the promoters of the capitalistic commercialization-process of 
industry in Poland. The Polish artisan also had reason for hostility to 
the Jewish merchants. Jewish merchants often had a monopoly control 
over the trade in raw materials needed by the artisans, such as skins, furs 
and the like. In many cases, too, there was competition between the 
Christian artisans and the Jewish merchants who imported from outside 
commodities such as shoes and clothing. As pioneers of a more advanced 
economic system the Jews were thus hated even more by the artisans than 
by the non-Jewish merchants. In all the anti-Jewish riots of the 17th 
century as well as in later centuries, the most active groups were recruited 
largely from the artisan dass, particularly journeymen and apprentices. 
These groups, more Backward socially and culturally, were used by the 
merchant patricians as tools in all these outbreaks, not only against the 
Jews but also against the heretics. 


In this bourgeois antisemitism of the 17th century one group of pro- 
fessionals also begins to play a role, the physicians. ( One of the most 
insidious anti-Jewish pamphlets of the 17th century was written by a 
Polish physician, Sleszkowski, and directed against Jewish doctors as 
alleged quacks. 

The attitude of the peasantry towards the Jews during this period is 
more difficult to gauge. Being for the most part illiterate, we find no 
record of their sentiments in the literature of the time. Nor is it safe 
to make any deductions from the bloody events of 1648 in the Ukraine 
during the uprising of Chmielnicki. Conditions in the Ukraine differed in 
many ways from those in other parts of Poland; here and there were 
numerous Jews to whom entire estates had been farmed out and who 
ruled over the peasants with all the authority of the landlords. As for 
the Jewish innkeepers, their lower standard of living, their rustic life 
and, above all, the oppression which they too endured at the hands of 
the landlords, all tended to soften the antagonism between them and the 
peasants. The peasants' hostility toward the Jewish urban merchants and 
craftsmen was no sharper than toward the Christian city dwellers, since 
the Jews contented themselves with a lower profit rate!) 

The nobility as a whole was not antagonistic to the Jews, who served 
their interests in many ways. They acted as a means to checkmate the 
political growth of the bourgeoisie. The Jews were economically indis- 
pensable to the noblemen in the management of their estates, as inn- 
keepers, as middlemen between them and the peasants, as brokers and 
agents, as commercial specialists supplying them with necessary com- 
modities and cash, and transacting for them the sale of their agricultural 
products. The proverb which circulated in old Poland, "Each landlord 
has his Jew," is expressive of this situation. It would be wrong, however, 
to overlook differences in attitude towards the Jews among the different 
strata of the noble class. The group of big landowners derived the most 
profit from the Jews. They farmed out to the Jews the tolls and industrial 
and commercial establishments and were never in a position of rivalry 
with them. They were eager to have Jews settle in their towns in order 
to stimulate the development of commerce and handicrafts. Even in 
cities where the establishment of Jews was forbidden entirely (Warsaw, 
Wilno) , or confined to special sections and suburbs (Cracow, Lublin) , 
the Jews were able to circumvent the prohibitions by living in the palaces 
and mansions of the magnates. Since the estates of the magnates were 


free from the jurisdiction of the cities, the Jews were able to open stores, 
inns and shops, paying high sums for rent as well as for protection. The 
antisemitic literature of that period mentions expressly the "grand Polish 
lords as the protectors of the Jews to the detriment of the Poles." The 
lesser nobility derived most of their profit from the Jews by employing 
them as innkeepers. This group too had no antagonistic interests with 
regard to the Jews, except insofar as it resented the role of the Jews in 
increasing the power of the magnates. The petty nobility (owners of 
small farms of landless noblemen) were antagonistic toward the Jews for 
distinct economic reasons. They begrudged the positions held by the 
Jews in the large estates, since they themselves aspired to these sources of 

It was the nobility, however, who gave to 17th century Polish anti- 
semitism its specific character and psychological coloring. For although 
the nobleman needed the Jew for his economic activities he, at the same 
time, despised him and looked upon him as a contemptible being. ^The 
rigidly exclusive character of the Polish noble caste, which was more 
sharply drawn than in any other European country, developed among the 
Polish nobles a contempt for all other classes of society. But the Jews 
were despised even more than the "lower" Christfen classes. Moreover, 
the religion of the Jew, the "enemy of Christ," accentuated this hatred. 
The nobility considered itself as the chief guardian of the faith. Their 
battles against the Moslems, Tartars and Turks were reflected also in 

their attitude towards the infidels at home, the Jews] 
ff *** 

(Inspiration as well as arguments were supplied to these various groups 

hostile to the Jews by the Church and above all by the members of the 
Jesuit order. Poland witnessed a wave of religious fanaticism which began 
at the close of the 16th century and reached its high point in the 18th 
century. This fanaticism was directed at first towards Protestants and 
members of the Greek Orthodox Church but it led inevitably also to 
severe intolerance of the Jews. The anti- Jewish riots, frequent in the 17th 
century, were arranged by students of the Jesuit colleges and by other 
elements in the urban population on the occasion of religious processions 
and festivals. Numerous ritual murder trials were initiated by the Jesuits 
in order to keep alive this spirit of religious zeal and intolerance. But in 
many instances attacks on Jews went hand in hand with assaults upon 
Protestant sects. The anti-Jewish pamphlets issued by churchmen to 
demonstrate the "errors" of the Talmud also strike at the Protestants, 


"who are not a whit better than the Jews." Riots against Jews often 
ended with similar attacks upon Lutherans and Calvinists, while profana- 
tion of churches and cemeteries of Protestants would often end with 
pillaging the Jewish sections. It is interesting to note too that Protestants 
and Jews often resorted to the same defense techniques. Thus, for ex- 
ample, it became customary for Jews to pay gratuities (kozubalec) to 
schoolboys and to sextons of churches in order to be free from assault 
while passing through the streets in which religious institutions were 
Located. The Protestant "heretics" followed the Jewish example and we 
find that as early as the beginning of the 17th century they too came to 
pay the students the humiliating taxes for free passage, for the free conduct 
of their funeral processions and the like/) 

The dire poverty of the Jewish masses in Poland is another element in 
the picture of 1 7th century Polish antisemitism. vlhis fact is conceded 
by most of the authors of antisemitic literature. j But Jewish poverty 
merely serves as an excuse for gibing and mocking the Jews. In their 
religious zeal to convert the Jews they do not fail to point to the poverty 
of the Jews to demonstrate that they are abominable and forgotten by 
their Messiah, for whom they continue to wait in vain. Often too the 
Jews are described as miserly in their zeal to save their money rather than 
expend it for better living/Thus the Polish poet Jarzemski in 1643 writes 
of the Jews of Warsaw: 

"Miserly in his life: 
What clothing! Enter his house 
And beholdl He gnaws at his little radish, 
His little cucumber and carrot 
And thus contented is the dirty Jew 
While he gathers die coins, the ugly fellow. . . ."* j 


All the social conflicts irhfrh TIT* hirrr mni tn rnnTrtiniir the sources of 
antisenritism in Poland in the 17th century became intensified in the 18th 
century, particularly at its dose. The Jewish question emerged as a lead- 
ing social and political problem during the period o"lhe Quadrennial 
Biet. (1778-92) when the representatives of the nobility were faced with 

Sobtedd, Wadaw, NienawiSt wyxnanicwa thundw xa nqddw Zygmunto IHgo (Wanaw 
1909 P- I. These historical facts refute the theories regarding the alleged unique psychology 
of antisemific persecutions and the unique Inferiority complex" to be found among Jews 
as E persecuted social group. 
'Bartoaewux, EL, Antystmitytm w Jttenrtuav polskiej xo-xaii . (Wanaw 1914} p. 134. 


the task of dealing with the urgent problems confronting the country 
after the first partition. The major social problem in the rural areas was 
that of raising the standard of living of the peasant class, who made up 
about 80 percent of the population. As for the towns, there was the 
question of the status of the townsmen, who had thus far not possessed 
any political rights and who did not enjoy any degree of self-government. 
The Jewish problem was closely linked to both these questions. tf)ne of 
the chief causes of the miserable condition of the Polish peasants was their 
habitual drunkenness, and the Jewish innkeepers in the peasant villages 
were deeply involved in this situation. To remedy the situation the inn- 
keeper system would have had to be abolished and the numerous Jews 
thus employed would have had to find a place in agriculture, commerce 
or handicrafts. This in turn was bound up with the question of granting 
political rights to the Polish burghers. There was serious danger that 
the Polish bourgeoisie once having gotten political power, would use it 
not only to bar from the cities any influx of declassed Jewish innkeepers 
but even to deprive those Jews already long established in the cities of 
all their economic rights,j 

The abundant political literature of this period reflects the attitude of 
the various social and economic groups in Poland towards the Jews. The 
majority of the nobility, consisting of minor landholders, displayed an 
attitude that was even more hostile than in the preceding century. \They 
were opposed to any program of abolition of socage, which would mean 
the loss to them of a cheap source of agricultural labor; in order to divert 
attention from their selfish aims these noblemen sought to place all the 
blame for the dire poverty of the peasants upon the shoulders of the Jewish 
innkeepers. In the larger cities the majority of the nobility was quite 
willing to deliver the Jews to the mercy of their Christian competitors 
at the price of the mitigation of their political demands. This policy was 
carried out in part in the Constitution of May 3, 1791. In practise, how- 
ever, there were not many radical changes in the Jewish status. The 
Jewish innkeepers were retained as middlemen for squeezing out the 
profits from the peasants, and except for some of the larger royal towns, 
the Jews in the private cities and towns remained unimpaired in their 
economic activities. This practical conservatism of the nobility was due 
in a large measure to the indebtedness of the Jewish communities. The 
noblemen were afraid of losing their loans invested in the Jews if the 
yews were eliminated completely from their traditional occupations^ 


The most tolerant and humane attitude of the period was displayed 
by the members of the higher nobility. This group was as a whole more 
enlightened than the lesser nobility. But their economic interests also 
coincided with a more favorable attitude towards the Jews. iThe higher 
nobles were not opposed to the abolition of the socage system 'of peasant 
labor; they were interested in having these obligations converted into 
fixed money rents. Although they too favored the abolition of the inn- 
keeper system, they did not attribute the dire poverty of the peasants to 
this system as much as to the socage system. The program of these noble- 
men with regard to the Jewish question, as found in the pamphlets of 
Thaddeus Czacki, Butrymowicz and an anonymous writer, consisted of 
the following points: a part of the Jewish population should be settled as 
tenant farmers, the Jews in the cities should not be restricted in their 
pursuits of trade and handicraft, they should enjoy to some extent the 
rights of citizenship and should be admitted to limited membership in 
the merchant and craft gilds. These writers were the first in the history 
of Poland to advocate publicly a policy of mutual understanding between 
"two nations on one soil" and to proclaim freely the true situation of the 
Jews in Poland. The author of the anonymous pamphlet of 1782 thus 
summarizes the status of the Jews in Poland at the time: 

The Jews are excluded from all classes of the country, they are encircled 
by special laws, they are barred from the honors of citizenship, they are 
compelled to pay double fees in the courts, their religion is a laughing 
stock and a prey to vilification and still the Jew is requested to carry his 
fetters with reverence, to kiss the hands which put him in irons. . . . He 
does not want to settle on the land because he does not want to change 
the character of his misery; he is idle 5 and poor but he is not a serf. ... He 
is fervently willing to go into trade and industry, but the cities either do 
not admit him at all or permit him only to become a hawker. He is for- 
bidden to perfect himself in handicrafts and arts and he is barred from 
the gilds and municipalities. The Jew, pressed by the necessity of earning 
his livelihood, has bargained with the city dweller and bought from him 
various concessions. Mutual agreements were concluded, which couldn't 
be lasting and could not be strictly adhered to. Protectors were found 
each part destroyed the other and havoc was wrought on our trade and 
our dries. 6 / 

The author, like many of his contemporaries in Poland, was evidently an adherent of the 
physiocratic school, according to which only agriculture produces economic wealth. Besides, 
many Jewish activities, such as those of brokers, agents and innkeepers, were considered at 
that time as sheer idleness. 

Balaban, M., Historja i literatura zydowska (Warsaw 1925) voL iii, p. 414. 


The Polish bourgeoisie, the main antisemitic class in the country since 
the 15th century, took advantage of the occasion of an open discussion on 
the Jewish problem in the period of reforms, to start a violent campaign 
against the Jews. The contrast between Poland and the Western Euro- 
pean countries is particularly apparent in this respect. Poland was ar 
behind the countries of Western Europe in its economic development. 
Even by the dose of the 18th century there was no strong class of upper 
bourgeoisie in Poland. Moreover, whereas in Western Europe the Jewish 
bourgeoisie constituted only a small percentage of the entire class, the 
proportion in Poland was quite different. The Jewish townspeople in 
Poland were numerically stronger than the Christian inhabitants in the 
towns. ^The Jewish urban population has been estimated as about 600,000 
(two-thirds of the 900,000 Polish Jews at the time) as compared with 
about 500,000 non-Jews.y Unlike the bourgeois classes of Western Europe, 
therefore, the Polish bourgeoisie was too weak to come out with a program 
of full emancipation and equal political rights for all sections of the popu- 
lation. It contented itself merely with demands for the restitution of self- 
government for the cities and with the extension to city dwellers of such 
political rights as the right of representation in the diet and of eligibility 
to some of the higher public offices. The < "radicalism" of the Polish 
bourgeoisie was displayed only in its attitude towards the Jews. 

fin the political pamphlets of bourgeois writers the Jews are pictured 
as the cause of Poland's misery and particularly of the ruination of Polish 
commerce and industry. Even a statesman like the priest Staszyc applies 
to the Jews such epithets as "the plague," "the winter and summer locust 
of the country," "idlers," "contagion," "putridness," and the like. The 
demands of these writers aimed at the elimination of Jewish competition 
in commerce and handicraft. A favorite slogan of such writers called for 
the settlement of Jews as peasants on private and state lands. As for the 
status of Jews in the cities there were variations in the program by different 
authors. The extreme antisemites demanded the absolute elimination of 
Jews from the cities with the expelled Jews to become peasants or to be 
used as laborers on public works. Other writers urged the establishment 
of special Jewish towns, arguing that in this way the Jews would not 
interfere with the Christian artisans. Even the moderates, who admitted 
the right of the Jews to engage in commerce and crafts in the cities, de- 
manded that the Jews be placed under the full jurisdiction of the munici- 

* Xonon, T., Wewn^trmt dxieje PoUki ZA Stani&nva Augusta (Warsaw 1897) vol. i, p. 320. 


pal authorities and gilds without any participation in the rights of the 
Christian citizens. As for cities like Warsaw and many others, which 
possessed the old privilege dt nan tofarandis Judaeis, this privilege was 
to be Gamed out by the expulsion of all Jews already settled thereJjj) 

The Jewish question was not solved by the old Polish state because the 
fundamental social questions were not solved and because the status of 
the peasants, the primary cause of economic decay, was not changed in 
any way. It was also the economic stagnation and the social disease of 
old Poland which contributed to the political weakness of the state and 
caused the partition of the country between its three neighboring powers. 


The Jewish question in partitioned Poland in the 19th and 20th cen- 
turies was a reflection of the still unsolved fundamental social question 
of the problem of the peasantry, and with it the retarded economic, 
political and cultural development of the country. ^The constitution 
bestowed upon the Duchy of Warsaw in 1807 by Napoleon did not change' 
itially the legal status of the peasants. Formally the comprehensive 

law (Fesdaoage est abolit) freed the peasant from being attached to the 
soil but in practise he was hardly able to enjoy this freedom, burdened 
as he remained with most of the feudal obligations. It was not until 
the middle of the 19th century in Galicia and the year 1864 in the king- 
dom of Poland that the peasants were ftifranrKwd and *bc land held 
by them bestowed upon them as their property. Although these acts 
changed the legal status of the peasants, their social condition was not 
improved. For some years it became even worse since the burden of the 
indemnity to thg landlords was a new additional cause of poverty. Poland 
never cmv^riCTicccl ^i acxanan reform introduced by TffvniiiUQTi^iTy orcc 
or by governmental decrees!! The unparalleled poverty of the peasants, 
who even in the 20th century constituted more than three-quarters of 
the population, was the main hindrance to the normal capitalistic devel- 
opment of Poland. The extremely low purchasing power of the popula- 
tion did not render possible the growth of industry and trade. Notwith- 
standing some advances in industry and trade during the 19th century 

The economic motive of competition u decttve in all theas program! It coerrdbonted by 
tte attitude of the owandMni& As a molt of the Franttit 

movement ievl hundred Jewi became tautened to Orrfidinity. Many of the neophytei 
Ktded in Waxsaw at mecdum* and mnkeepen. In nany atttittoitlc pamptiTeti of that 
dme the neophytes woe attacked with the aune vehemence m the Jem at "taking wmy the 


Poland continued to remain an agrarian country dominated by the 

aristocracy. 1 As the former Polish secretary of treasury, Ignacy Matuszew- 
ski declared, "There never was a 19th century in Poland." 9 And many 
features of the antisemitic mentality in Poland in the 19th and even in 
the 20th century appear due to this "lack of the 19th century" in that 

The statement of Karl Marx that "the dnymnanf culture of an epoch 
is the culture of the dominant <Ja$g of th^t epoch" may be safely applied 
to Polish antisemitism. The contemptuous attitude of the nobility toward 
the Jew was unparalleled in any other country. This attitude in turn 
influenced to a large extent the stand taken towards the Jews by the anti- 
semitic elements gTnrmg the other social rbiroff. In th^ rase of the bour- 
geoisie there was even more direct transference of these attitudes. fThe 
bourgeoisie of Poland was filled in the second half of the 19th century 
with impoverished noblemen who, after the liberation of the serfs, could 
not adjust themselves to the new conditions and turned to commerce 
and industry. Moreover, in the parts of Poland occupied by Prussia and 
Russia government posts came to be filled by Prussian and Russian 
officials instead of Polish noblemen, thus throwing many more of the 
Polish nobility into trade atid industry. In these more direct ways, there- 
fore, fh^ arrogant vTttf*fmMr attitude of the nobility was imparted to 
the bourgeoisie.^ 

The social dominance of the nobility was to a large extent responsible 
for the difficulties encountered by the Jews of Poland in their struggle 
for political rights in the 19th century. The class conceit of the Polish 
nobility was revealed in their attitude towards Jews serving in the army 
and holding public officefWhen during the Polish November insurrec- 
tion of 1831, the issue of calling Jews to the colon was debated in the 
diet, the war minister, Francis Morawski, appealed most fervently to the 
traditions of Polish "chivalry" not to admit the Jews to military service. 
"It would pain a Pole to recollect," he said, "that in this struggle he 
couldn't dispense with the help of the people of Israel." 10 This attitude 
was strongly opposed by many deputies and ridiculed by the democratic 
faction but the motion was upheld by the overwhelming majority of the 
diet Still more inconceivable to the mentality of a nobleman was the 
possibility of a Jew holding public office in Poland. Even the* most pro- 

Matuttmki, Ignacy, Prtby jynfa (Wmaw 1937) p. 198. 

Sdhlppev, L. Zyd& krokrtwa JtebJkfcgo w debt* powttmia littopadtmcgo (Wimw 1982) 
p. 169. 


gressive writers on the Jewish question in the first half of the 19th 
century never went so far as to demand this political right for the Jew^. 

Together with the social and economic backwardness of Poland in the 
19th and 20th centuries there persisted an attitude towards commerce 
reflecting the agricultural character of the country. Despite some capi- 
talistic development the overwhelming majority of the Polish people 
still regarded commercial occupations with mistrust. Trade was identified 
with swindle, trickery and deceit. But the relative majority of the Jews 
in Poland during the entire period before the first World War was en- 
gaged in commerce and more than two-thirds of all the people engaged 
in such vocations were Jews. Petty trade was dominated to an even larger 
extent by Jews. Under such circumstances it is apparent why the Jew 
came to be associated in the minds of so many of the people with the 
idea of a swindler. 

/The "absence of the 19th century" in Poland is revealed also in the 
fafct that the country never passed through a political revolution such as 
was experienced by the Western European states. There never was a 
strong bourgeois political liberalism with its own party and platform 
of political democracy. Instead the new Polish bourgeoisie, faced by the 
socialist movement of the 19th century, joined with the reactionary 
elements in the country headed by the big landlords and the clergy. 

The traditional religious intolerance and fanaticism persisted among 
the overwhelming majority of the population. It extended even to a part 
of the industrial workers in the cities who, recruited from the villages, still 
retained the religious fanaticism of the village. The socialist movement 
in the latter part of the 19th and in the 20th century served to counteract 
this tendency among the workers/) 

A very important factor which contributed to the special character of 
Polish antisemitism relates to the national and cultural separateness of 
the Jewish population in Poland. The majority of the Polish Jews have 
to this day preserved their traditional cultural and religious patterns of 
life. The strict observance of all the minutiae of orthodox Judaism, 
such as the dietary laws, Sabbath regulations and the like, prevented free 
social intercourse between Jews and non-Jews. Specific customs, dress 
and language all served to isolate the Jewish group and widen the gap 
between the two peoples. The Jews spoke their own Yiddish language 
and only a minority acquired a thorough knowledge of the Polish 
language. This fact supplied Polish antisemites with additional material 


for inciting hatred against the "strangers" in the land. The attitude of 
the Polish population toward the Yiddish language differed from that 
displayed toward any other non-Polish language. It was the language of 
a national-religious group which was placed on the lowest rung in the 
social hierarchy of the country. The contempt displayed toward the 
innkeeper, small storekeeper, peddler, broker and agent was thus carried 
over to the language spoken by them. The Yiddish language sounded 
comic and ridiculous to the semi-intelligent elements in the population, 
as ridiculous as was the appearance of the Jewish factotum to the haughty 
Polish nobleman. Secondly, as the Yiddish language was spoken 'for 
internal use" by a group dispersed among the Polish population, it was 
regarded as a sign of obstinate clannishness, marked by a kind of group- 
conspiracy, like the slang used by elements beyond the margin of society, 
such as thieves, beggars and the like, j 

The intensity of the Jewish national individuality in Poland was due 
to a large extent to the numerical strength of the Jewish population and 
to their concentration in compact areas. Poland had the largest number 
of Jews of all the countries in Europe. Before the second World War 
there were about three and one-quarter million Jews in Poland, con- 
stituting about ten percent of the entire population. fEven more signi- 
ficant was their relationship to the urban population of the country. 
Until recently the Jews constituted about one-third of the city dwellers 
in central Poland. This concentration in small towns and in separate 
sections of the large cities {like Warsaw, Lodz, Wilno, Cracow and Lwow 
was most favorable to the flourishing of a Jewish national lifel 

The peculiar exclusiveness of the Polish Jews was also rrfoted in the 
general backwardness of the country, with the preponderance of agri- 
culture and small town life and with the political oppression of the 
Jews. The religious fanaticism of the Jews was but a counterpart to the 
religious fanaticism of the great majority of the Christian population. 
GTiere was a tendency for many of these negative and backward aspects 
of Jewish exclusiveness to disappear with the progressive development 
of the country and, on the other hand, the maintenance of Jewish 
national identity was not in contradiction to the progress of the country 
as a whole. This fact was recognized by many Polish socialists and by 
liberal writers like Prof. Baudouin de Courtenay.^ The organized anti- 
semitic elements, hwwvop, took advantage of the fact that due to special 
geographical and historical circumstances Jewish national life flourished 


in Poland to an extent unparalleled in Western or Central Europe and 
misrepresented the national character of the Jews in Poland as a con- 
stituent part of their negative exdusiveness. 

All the above-mentioned factors, however, were not sufficient in them- 
selves to arouse an active antisemitic movement The interests of the 
peasants, who constituted the overwhelming majority of the Polish popu- 
lation, did not conflict so violently with those of the Jews as to lead them 
to start a fight against them. frhis was all the more so since already at 
the beginning of the nineteenth century the class of Jewish innkeepers 
in the villages had disappeared almost entirely, due to legal restrictions (an 
exception in this respect was Galiria) . Laws of the tsarist regime, which 
were issued later, forbade the Jews to acquire real estate from the peasants. 
As a result only about 12 percent of Jews in central Poland before the first 
World War lived in the villages, their main occupation being small store- 
keeping, cattle trade, dairy farming and the like. The antagonism to the 
Jewish city dweller, the "swindler," was even more than in the previous 
centuries greatly weakened by the fact that the Polish tradesmen and 
handicraftsmen, who increased in number steadily, did not treat the 
peasant any better than the Jewish tradesmen. JThe religious customs 
and exterior of the Jew appeared less ridiculous to the peasant than to 
the Polish townsman because he himself dung to his peculiar customs 
and dress, which were by no means more "European" than the Jewish. 

The nobility, while contemptuous in its attitude toward the Jew, as 
in the previous centuries, did not have any important reasons for hostility 
against them/In addition, the economic "symbiosis" between the noble- 
man and "his Jew," outlasted to some extent even the nineteenth century; 
the Jew transacted for his "loxd" all the complicated business involved in 
the sale of agricultural products. The great number of Jews in the 
country and the role played by them in commerce were, as far as the 
gentry and peasants were concerned, factors which rather mitigated tha^ 
enhanced any hostile feelings towards them. The Jews were regarded 
as a customary, necessary "dass" of the population, although isolated 
from all classes and ridiculous to some of than)' The evident poverty of 
the majority of the Jewish population was a further factor which weakened 
the effect of any propaganda inciting hatred of the "Jewish exploiters." 

The chief promoters and disseminators of antisemitism during the 
19th century were found, as in previous centuries, among the bourgeoisie. 
The economic rivalry between the Polish and Jewish bowgeoisie increased 


in intensity. On the one hand there was an increase in the number of 
Jews in the cities, due to the migration of Jews forced to leave the villages, 
and on the other hand, the Polish bourgeoisie was strengthened eco- 
nomically and numerically by the steady development of commerce and 
industry and by the influx into the cities of declassed peasants and noble- 
men. The antisemitic propaganda of the Polish bourgeoisie continued 
incessantly during the 19th century except when interrupted by the in- 
surrections for national independence. fThe year 1859 witnessed a high 
point in the campaign of the Polish townspeople against the Jews. So 
violent were the attacks launched by a section of the Polish press against 
the Jews that this year has come down in the history of Poland as the 
year of the "Jewish War." A controversy now raged over the question 
of equal civic rights for the Jews. Some of the progressive elements in 
Polish society, representing a small group of bigger merchants and in- 
dustrialists, realized that the economic development of the country was 
incompatible with the maintenance of restrictions upon the Jews such 
as limitations of residence, exclusion from craft and merchant gilds, 
restrictions on acquiring real estate, special taxes like the kosher meat 
tax and the like. They argued too that enlightened Jews had already 
shown themselves to be thoroughly attached to Polish culture. In fact,' 
during the first half of the 19th century there had come into existence 
a new group of Jewish merchants, bankers, industrialists, publishers and 
professional men who had absorbed Polish culture and who regarded 
themselves as "Poles of the Old Testament persuasion."yThe reactionary 
petty bourgeoisie feared nothing more than the extension of the rights 
of citizenship to the Jews since this would enhance their position in their 
competition in the field of commerce apd handicrafts. Diverting atten- 
tion from their real motives they violently attacked the assimilated 
"Jewish autocracy" as damaging the country by its economic activities 
and exercising a detrimental influence on Polish cultural life. 

/The insurrection of January, 1863 brought about a standstill in anti- 
semitic agitation for several years. The Jewish bourgeoisie and intellec- 
tuals displayed such fervent patriotism in supporting the uprising by 
agitation, material aid and personal participation in the struggle, that 
even the most malignant antiseniites were compelled to express their 
admiration. The idealism of the Jewish patriots, moreover, was the 
more above question since just on the eve of the outbreak of the struggle 
all the most oppressive special restrictions on the Jews were abolished 


by the governor, Wielopolski, the staunch enemy of the national-revolu- 
tionary movement. Never before and never since was the friendship, 
conciliation and brotherhood of "two nations living on one soil" so 
enthusiastically celebrated as during these years of armed struggle against 
the Russian oppressor. All the accumulated prejudices toward the Jewish 
religion, race, customs and peculiarities seemed to dwindle away in face 
of the necessity to fight the common national enemy. Yet the main source 
of antisemitism, the competition of the petty bourgeoisie, was far from 
having disappeared. It was to come forth again to spread anti- Jewish 
prejudice more than ever in Polish history.} 

In the last two decades of the 19th century the economic development 
of Poland was accelerated and the new capitalistic developments created 
the same foundations for the spread of antisemitism as did similar develop- 
ments in Germany and Austria. The fields of activity of the small 
merchants and handicraftsmen became narrower as they were pushed 
out more and more by big industry and highly organized business estab- 
lishments. The increased development of banking, moreover, made the 
small tradesmen, artisans as well as farmers, dependent on the banks. At 
the same time the reactionary elements in the new capitalistic classes 
found it to their advantage to divert the embitterment and exasperation 
of the petty bourgeosie from its real sources of trouble to "Jewish capi- 
talism" as a scapegoat. (The petty bourgeoisie thus came to be used as a 
social base for the fight against the socialist movement.] The demagogic 
representation of capitalism as a "Jewish invention" was greatly facili- 
tated by the fact that in the textile industry, the main industry of the 
country, a considerable proportion of the factories (In centers like Lodz 
and Bialystok) were owned by Jews. (At the same time the land hunger 
of the impoverished peasantry increased to such an extent as to make 
the field fertile for the expansion of the socialist movement to the village^ 
The fear of scK:ialism-tht-alse- pressed the landlords into joining the 
political movement which made antisemitism the chief plank in its plat- 
form. Finally, the clergy too regarded antisemitism as the only salvation 
from the dangers of atheistic socialism. In this way antisemitism appeared 
as the force to consolidate all the reactionary elements in the land. These 
elements were fused at the end of the 19th century into the National 
Democratic Party (N.D.) . 

Until the beginning of the 20th century even the reactionary N.D. 
party did not proceed with an openly antisemitic program. (The cause 


of Polish national liberation, which had mitigated the antiseinitism of 
1831, 1848 and 1863, served also at this time to act as a mitigating factor. 
The NJX party was clever enough not to start a struggle against the 
''internal enemy" at a time when the enthusiasm for throwing off the 
yoke of the tsarist regime was inspiring the entire population. More- 
over, it did not seem possible to incite the people against the Jews at the 
very time when the odious tsarist government achieved world notoriety 
by the organization of bloody pogroms on the Jews.} 

The failure of the Russian revolution of 1905 aim meant the end of im- 
mediate prospects for Polish liberation. The N.D. party, therefore, could 
now turn its attention to the "internal enemy," the Jew. A violent anti- 
Jewish agitation was started, which reached its peak in 1912 with* the 
organization of a boycott action against Jews throughout the land. jThe 
pretext for the initiation of this wild campaign was the election to the 
Duma of a socialist deputy with the support of Jewish votes. The boycott 
seemed to offer a possibility whereby the oldest dreams of the Polish 
petty bourgeoisie of getting rid of their Jewish competitors could be 
realized. V'Do not buy from the Jews" became ^rom now on/he shop- 
keeper slogan of Polish shopkeeper antisemitism. 

Simultaneously with the economic boycott a violent antisemitic cam- 
paign was launched in the press and in pamphlets by the leaders of the 
N.D. party,^such as Roman Dmowski, Theodor Jeske-Choinski, Anton 
Marylski and others^ The theories of the Polish antisemites were bor- 
rowed from Central Europe. Tfiey induded-a mixture of all kinds of 
antisemitic and racial "theoretical" systems. (The Jews were accused of 
Semitic egoism and will to power; materialism, greed and avariciousness, 
cruel ruthlessness, shrewdness and parasitism; self-conceit of the chosen 
people and hatred of gentiles, originating in the spirit of the Talmud; 
Jewish capitalism based on speculation, the bourse and limitless exploita- 
tion of the people; Jewish will to dominate the world; Jewish destructive 
spirit as the source of the subversive doctrines of atheism, liberalism, 
anarchism and the like. There was nothing new in the call of the Polish 
antisemites to all Christian peoples for economic, political and ^cultural 
self-defense against the dangerous enemies of entire Christendom} 

The original features of the antisemitic theory of the N.D. party had 
to be adjusted to the specific social and cultural status of the Jews in 
Poland. fThe social status of the Jews in Poland caused a lot of trouble 
to the propagandists and "theoreticians" of antisemitism in that cpuntryj 


In Poland it was not as easy as in Western Europe to represent the Jewish 
people as a nation consisting entirely of a rich bourgeoisie class. The 
dire poverty of the Jewish population in the small towns and in the Jewish 
sections of the big cities was evident and manifest to everybody. Com- 
pelled to TT^fcT the concession that there were in Poland a lot of Jews 
living at a very low standard, they resorted to pointing out that this very 
act was a great danger for the Poles. The unparalleled poverty of the 
Jewish masses, they said, was evidence that the Jews were able to achieve 
economic superiority over the Poles by their miserly living and by their 
remarkable endurance under the worst conditions of life. (The "theo- 
retical" explanation of thi* alleged specific characteristic of the Jews is 
given by the antisemites on the basis of racialism. The antisemitic Jeske 
Ghoinski thus pictures 3^ "explains" tfrc poverty of the Polish Jews: 

For thousands of yean the Jews have been living in a northern climate. 
Such a Climate rail* for wott abundant and essential food than a southern 
climate. Yet they feed themselves in the same way as they did in Palestine. 
Amidst cold and frost die Jew lives a whole day on a piece of herring, 
on a crumb of bread watered with brandy and greased with a head of 
onion or garlic. A Polish dog would die with such food, yet the Jew feels 
fiwiff a-nA multiplies ?*fc* tiio ya-nri on tfrff seashore. 11 "*) 

Another difficulty which the NJD. antisemitic writers h?^ to explain 
away was the wide prevalence of Zionism among the Polish Jews. For 
one of the tflgiy* points in tfr*r r antisemitic program was the great danger 
for Polish Christian culture ^rnana finer from tTi*> assimilation of the Jews. 
The strength of Jewish national consciousness in Poland, however, tended 
in the opposite direction. To this the antisemites replied that the real 
aim of the Jews was to establish a Jewish state in Poland wfth the Polish 
population under the domination of t^ Jews. The so-called assimila- 
tionist Jews, they said, were merely camouflaging' the real aims of their 
nationalistic fellow-Jews by superficial assimilation with Polish culture, 
which they infected with the destructive Jewish virus. As for the Zionists, 
they were not a whit more sincere? they carried on their propaganda for 
Palestine as a Jewish national home not because they really desired to 
emigrate but because they wished in this way to strengthen the Jewish 
national spirit in Poland so as to transform that country into a Jewish 

liric writers used the Jewish issue to rewrite the past history of 


^^ (Sri &, Wttww IMS) p. 90. 


Poland. It had been commonly accepted by Polish historians that the 
chief cause of the fall of the old independent state of Poland was the 
dominance of the corrupt and incompetent landed gentry. The NJX 
party spokesmen now placed the blame for the downfall of Poland on 
the Jews. The Jews were responsible for the weakness of the Polish 
bourgeoisie. They overcame their Polish competitors by their cleverness, 
slyness and subterfuges. The bourgeoisie, therefore, was too weak to aid 
the royal power in its struggle with the nobility. And the nobility, they 
concluded, "would not have dared to attack the Polish city dwellers if 
there had been no Jews in the country." 12 ) 

In the new independent Poland, restored after the World War, the 
forces which had brought about the strong antisemitic movement just 
before the World War, acted with double vehemence. (The solution of 
the most vital socio-economic problem of Poland for centuries, the 
agrarian question, made no headway after the restoration of national 
independence. More than half of the entire landed property was owned 
as previously by magnates, whereas the peasantry, amounting to 73 per- 
cent of the population, lived on dwarfish holdings which were not 
sufficient even for the most modest livelihood. The economic develop- 
ment of the country, thwarted mainly by the pitifully low purchasing 
power of the peasants, encountered new difficulties created by the new 
political boundaries.* Poland lost the pre-war Russian markets for its 
industrial products of textile and clothing industries and compensations 
in new markets were not sufficient to make up for the loss. This accounts 
also for the fact that Poland, in contrast to the developed capitalistic 
countries, could not recover after the world crisis in 192./The standard 
of living in Poland became the lowest in Europe, measured by the con- 
sumption of the main commodities and unemployed workers outnum- 
bered the employed. 

The deepening of the economic crisis in the country brought about 
an enormous increase in the antisemitic movement. The twin forces of 
antisemitism in Poland 'since the beginning of the 20th century, the 
economic competition of the small bourgeoisie and the political aim of 
using this movement as a diversion from revolutionary social trends, 
revealed themselves with a hitherto unknown violence. (The propaganda 

"Marylski, A., Dziefe sprmoy zydowskiej w Polsce (Warsaw 1912) p. 137. 


of "nationalization" of Polish economy by ousting the Jews from their 
positions acquired a new pretext under the conditions of regained inde- 
pendence. Until now, it was argued, we have been occupied with the 
struggle for our political freedom, now that we have obtained political 
power, the other half of the task, the economic liberation from the Jews, 
has to be taken up^ 

( Until 1935, the year of the death of the dictator, Marshal Pilsudski, 
tfite struggle against the Jews was carried out by the old antisemitic N.D. 
party. The ruling semi-fascist camp of the Sanacja had not hitherto mani- 
fested openly its antisemitism. It was restrained by the traditions of the 
camp which had fought for the freedom of Poland. Secondly, in contrast/ 
to the N.D., the ruling camp followed a more prudent course in carrying 
out its antisemitic program, restricting the Jews more and more in their 
economic activities in order to strengthen the "Polish element" in the 
country. The death of Marshal Pilsudski, coinciding with a phase of a 
sharpened economic crisis, induced the government to resort more and 
more to an undisguised antisemitic policy. Incapable of finding a remedy 
for the crisis and unwilling to touch the property of the landed aristocracy, 
the regime also came to look upon antisemitism as a way of deflecting 
the embittered population from the essential social issue. In addition, 
with the death of Pilsudski the government lost the great prestige of the 
authority he had enjoyed as a national hero and in order to win over the 
adherents of the rival NJD. party it had to match its whole antisemitic 
program. Since the agrarian question constituted the chief sore spot in 
the country the Jewish question was artificially linked with the problem 
of the poverty of the peasants. In the new antisemitic propaganda of the 
Sanacja the peasants were told that a solution for their economic plight 
could be found in their replacing the Jewish hawkers in the towns. The 
"nationalization" of commerce was adopted by the government as its own 
program. 13 The Camp of National Unification (OZON) , organized in 
1936 under the auspices of the government, proclaimed the necessity of 
ousting the Jews from the positions held by them in the economy as well 
as in the culture of the country. The necessity for the emigration of a 
great part of Polish Jewry was expressed officially by Polish ministers on 
many occasions!) 

"The conference of the Polish merchants in Warsaw in 1957, which adopted resolutions 
to oust the Jews from commerce, was greeted personally by the president of the republic, 


\. The non-productive activities of a great number of the Jews in Poland 
and the resulting extreme poverty were offered as proof that they were 
superfluous elements in the country. As a matter of fact a large number 
of Jews, despite immense obstacles placed in their way, had become en- 
gaged in more productive economic activities in independent Poland. 
According to the census of 1931 there were 42 percent of the Jews engaged 
in industry as compared with 37 percent engaged in commerce. And yet 
the same government which had ousted Jewish workers from factories, 
which it had taken over as a monopoly (tobacco, brandy, matches) , was 
irresponsible enough to sound an alarm over the unproductivity of the 
Jewish masses/) 

New extreme fascist organizations also came into being, with the con- 
nivance of the government, which demanded the extreme radical "solu- 
tion" of the Jewish question. The Jews, they said, should be expelled 
from Poland entirely, and their property confiscated without indemnity. 
(The social and political link between the agrarian problem and the anti- 
semitic movement is revealed most clearly in the programs of these ex- 
treme fascist groups. One of the representatives of this trend, Mosdorf , 
proposed the following solution of the agrarian problem: the big land- 
owners whose holdings would be distributed to peasants were to be 
indemnified from the confiscated estates of the Jews expelled from the 
cities. The antisemitic ideology of this fascist wing was a mixture of all 
the prevailing antisemitic doctrines, including some borrowings from the 
Nazi movement. The racial factor was not stressed as much as among 
the Nazis in view of the fact that the number of Jews converted to 
Christianity was comparatively less in Poland than in Germany. On the 
other hand Catholicism and the Christian ideals of the Middle Ages were 
used as spiritual foundations for their antisemitism. Like the old NJX 
party)these new groups reinterpreted the history of Poland in the light 
of their antisemitic principles. Cwhereas the old NJD. party had dis- 
covered that the Jews were the cause of the economic and social-political 
backwardness of the country, the new offspring of this party found oudthat 
Poland had been dominated by Jews since the 16th century through the 
mediation of t^e Freemasons, who were the expounders of Jewish political 
aims. The Jews and their henchmen, the Freemasons, were responsible 
for the partitions of Poland as well as for all the insurrectionsa the insur- 
rection of Kosciuszko in 1794, the November insurrection ur-1830, the 
January insurrection in 1863 and the armed struggle of the Polish 


Socialist Party against tsarist Russia. They argued that the Jews and 
Freemasons had an interest in inciting the Polish people to fruitless 
bloodshed in order to weaken the country which they then find easier 
to dominate) In practice the program of the fascists manifested itself not 
only in picketing Jewish shops and stores, expelling Jewish students from 
the university and college lecture halls, but also in organizing a series 
of bloody pogroms, which did not cease until the outbreak of the second 
World War. 

Fortunately for both the Polish and Jewish people the hideous anti- 
semitic propaganda did not find strong support among the masses of the 
population. Polish workers often displayed such a genuine awareness of 
their real enemies that they frequently drove away the boycott pickets 
from the Jewish stores. (The Polish peasants, although less enlightened 
than the workers, realized that the antisemitic propaganda was aimed at 
them no less than at the Jews. The bloody riots of the embittered peasants 
in Galicia, which broke out in August, 1937, were directed against the 
semi-fascist government and no Jew was assaulted at that time. "We 
don't want to take over the Jewish stalls in the town, we want to stay in 
the villages and get land." This was almost literally the slogan given by 
them as an answer to the antisemitic promises of the political camp then 
in power.) 


Scarcely two percent of Polish Jewry remained to witness the libera- 
tion; &ome 200,000 had found refuge in the Soviet Union and 50,000 
othersSurvived in concentration camps in Germany. 14 ^ The extermina- 
tion of the Jews of Poland reached a degree unparallelednot only in other 
European countries but in the history of mankind. This cruel fate, 
coupled with the no less horrible fact that the worst of the Nazi extermina- 
tion centers (Maidanek, Treblinka, Oswiecim, etc.) were established in 
Poland, has tended to confirm the belief regarding the exceptional in- 
tensity and pervasiveness dt Polish antisemitism. CThis notion is, however, 
by no means justified. In point of fact the Jews in territories adjacent 
to the present eastern frontier of Poland (inhabited largely by non- 
Polish populations) suffered no less than those in predominantly Polish 
regions. This refers to eastern Galicia, Volhynia, western White Russia 

u No figures are available as to the number from the territ&rfes annexed by the USSR 
who survived as refugees in the interior of the Soviet Union. j , 


and the Baltic countries. Apart from those saved by evacuation and by 
joining the Soviet army, the ratio of survivors in the Soviet Ukraine and 
White Russia (pre-1939 boundaries) is no greater than in Poland) 

(As far as active collaboration with the Nazis in carrying out the mass 
murder of the Jews is concerned, the record of the Ukrainians (particu- 
larly in eastern Galicia) , Lithuanians and Latvians is even more blood- 
stained than that of the Poles. There is no doubt that in Poland the Nazi 
authorities harvested the crop sown by the Endeks and Sanacja and that 
they capitalized on the economic antagonism between the Polish petty 
bourgeoisie and the Jews.) The unique tragedy of Polish Jewry appears, 
nnrrnhrlrrifii IT but a part of the great catastrophe of East-European 
Jewry as a whole. 

k Inasmuch as this sore problem requires thorough elucidation, one 
lot escape a consideration of the main factors underlying these grue- 
some events. The Nazi terror was in general far more severe in Eastern 
than in Western Europe. The Nazis' program of depopulation was carried 
out in Eastern Europe in the most brutal way. As for the Jews in par- 
ticular, we should bear in mind that the external differences between 
Jews and non-Jews have been much more marked in the Slavic countries 
than in Western Europe. This visibility of the Jews in Eastern Europe 
would in itself have sufficed to defeat their attempts to escape annhilation 
by disguising themselves. The attitude of the general population of the 
Nazi-occupied countries was, nevertheless, even more fataL^ In Eastern 
Europe, it was above all the retarded historical development, charac- 
terized by the absence of any deep-rooted traditions of tolerance and 
liberalism, which proved most disastrous for the Jews. The backward 
peasants and townsfolk in Poland, as well as in neighboring countries, 
were much less ready to risk their lives for the rescue of Jews, still viewed 
as "infidels," than the more enlightened population of Western Europe. 
(Neither in regard to Poland nor any of the neighboring countries can 
condemnation for the passive attitude in the face of the atrocities com- 
mitted be heaped on the entire non-Jewish population indiscriminately) 
The few score thousand Jews who survived in Poland owe their lives To 
Poles who gave them shelter, food and protection at the risk of their own 
lives. As has justly been pointed out by several spokesmen of the Pro- 
visional Polish Government, for every Jew who survived many Poles had 
to be involved in a conspiracy punishable by death. Qt is no less relevant 
to reootd thajjthe labor movement, x %he only progressive social force in 


Poland and other backward countries, stood the test during the Nazi 
occupation. It cooperated closely with the underground movement in 
the Warsaw ghetto, and when the heroic uprising of the Jews began, 
supplied the weapons; it helped the Jewish partisans and assisted in every 
way the Jews hidden in the "Aryan" sections of Warsaw. Unfortunately, 
such was the backwardness of Poland that the labor movement was too 
weak numerically to mobilize the majority of the population in behalf 

of the doomed Jews. \ 

~ ~*r 


Unlike the "democracy" established in Poland after the first World 
War, the democracy of liberated Poland has this time been built on the 
solid foundations of socio-economic reconstruction. The main root of the 
country's retardation, the unsolved agrarian problem, has been cut once 
and for all. All private estates larger than 50 hectares (about 123 acres) 
have been parcelled out to landless and small peasants. While this 
decisive reform is bound to bear fruit in the expansion of the domestic 
market, the importance of the liquidation of the landed gentry class is 
equally great. As a counterpart to this agrarian reform, all industrial 
enterprises employing over 50 workers have been nationalized. The 
agrarian and industrial reforms, together with the incorporation into the 
Polish state of highly industrialized, former German territories, including 
a long coast line on the Baltic Sea, have laid the foundations for the 
development of Poland as a modern, industrialized nation. These achieve- 
ments have been made possible by, and will depend for their consolida- 
tion on, a democratic government in which the workers and the peasants 
have the decisive role. 

(in its manifesto, issued the day after its formation, July 22, 1944, the 
Polish Committee of National Liberation not only pledged "democratic 
freedom and equality to all citizens, regardless of race, creed, and national 
origin," but added specifically that "Jews, whom the invaders have spared 
from brutal extermination, will be assured normal conditions of existence, 
as well as full legal and actual equality." The provisional government 
of Poland, formed on December 31 of that year and reorganized on June 
28, 1945 as the Provisional Government of National Unity, has earnestly 
endeavored to fulfill its pledge to the Jews. 

The Central Jewish Committee, the official organization of the Jews 
in Poland, has received assistance from the Ministry of Social Welfare to 


an extent far exceeding the ratio of Jews to the total population, in recog- 
nition of the fact that the Jews constitute the most destitute group. All 
educational and cultural institutions of the reviving Jewish community 
receive state subsidies, and conduct their activities in Yiddish, and to 
some extent Hebrew. For the first time in the history of Poland, more- 
over, Jews have received full opportunities of entering government-owned 
enterprises and the civil service, including the highest posts; at the present 
time one minister and several vice ministers are Jews. Jin generaly the 
attitude of the government toward the Jews has been permeated by a 
spirit of sincerity and helpfulness. 

Despite this official policy, antisemitism is still rife in Poland to an 
extent unknown in its history. (All reports agree that among wide sections 
of the population, particularly among the lower middle class and the 
intelligentsia, the hostility has increased greatly in comparison with the 
prewar era. A direct menace to the lives of the Jews is the wave of 
murderous assaults which has swept the country since the liberatioi^ It 
is estimated that no less than 1,000 Jews, many of whom had survived the 
horrors of concentration camps, have been killed during the past two 

This new tragedy of the survivors is an obvious result of the tin- 
consolidated political situation. There have been relatively few instances 
(as in Cracow in 1945, and Kielce, 1946) of pogroms, in the strict sense 
of the word, committed by incited mobs. As a rule, the Jews have fallen 
victim to sudden attacks of the armed bands of the fascist Narodowe Sily 
Zbrojnc (National Armed Forces) . These bands have also been guilty 
of the murder of many thousands of non-Jews, including Polish and 
Soviet soldiers, government officials and leaders of political parties, par- 
ticularly socialists and communists. Thus, once again, as has repeatedly 
happened in modern history, anti-Jewish attacks are being used as a 
stratagem of diversion by the enemies of progress. These murders are 
blows directed against the government, because it has adopted a pro- 
gressive program. The government has responded with energetic 
measures. On December 17, 1945 a decree adopted by the National 
Council was promulgated, providing the penalty under martial law of 
death or life imprisonment for acts of violence against persons of another 
nationality or religion as well as- for participation in the activities of 
mobs conducting attacks against such persons. Thus far, this measure has 
not been effective in deterring the anttsemitic bands from committing 


murder. There is, however, every hope that with the consolidation of the 
political situation, the smoldering remnants of fascism will be thoroughly 

The disappearance of antisemitism, which still permeates large strata 
of Polish society, will, -hfrwevrr. Jh* a slow* process. As in many other 
European countries, which underwent Nazi occupation, partienlasljL-in 
- Stovafcin, the animosity of the petty bourgeoisie against the 

Jews in Poland, in addition to the results of continuous, systematic Nazi 
propaganda, is stimulated by purely economic motives. Those Poles, who 
under Nazi rule had taken possession of Jewish houses and movable 
property, look upon every Jew as the potential expropriator of their spoil. 
Among large groups of the Polish intelligentsia the resentment against 
the Jews is of an even more complicated nature. It reflects their dissatis- 
faction with the position of equality of Jews who have entered public 
service, a field which had never before been accessible to them to any 
extent. This chauvinist intelligentsia has selected the Jews as a con- 
venient scapegoat to bear the blame for radical social reforms as well as 
for the loss of former Polish provinces to the "Bolsheviks." 

An energetic educational campaign against antisemitism has recently 
been started by the League against Racial Discrimination, organized on 
April 2, 1946 with the participation of the six political parties represented 
in the government. Though the importance and effect of a systematic 
educational program in the spirit of tolerance is not to be underestimate^ 
the main hope for the elimination of the antisemitic plague rests on the 
success of the country's reconstruction on a new socio-economic and 
political system. In the meantime the overwhelming majority of the Jews 
would prefer to emigrate at the first opportunity rather than to wait for 
the fruits of the new eraifrhus, the realization of the desire of the 
" Anonymous" Polish pampnlel of 1782, "that the dissension between two 
nations on one soil may be\ buried forever," may take place at a time 
when a tiny remnant of the \once largest Jewish community in Europe 
will remain on Polish soil?) 



The Facts of the Case 

It happened in France at the end of the year 1894. Alfred Dreyfus, 
a Jewish officer of the French General Staff, was accused and convicted 
of espionage for Germany. The verdict, lifelong deportation to Devil's 
Island, was unanimously adopted. The trial took place behind closed 
doors. Out of an allegedly voluminous dossier of the prosecution, only 
the so-called "bordereau" was published. This was a letter, supposedly 
in Dreyfus 7 handwriting, addressed to the German military attache^ 
Schwartzkoppen. In July 1895 Colonel Picquard became head of the 
Information Division of the General Staff. In May 1896 he told the chief 
of the General Staff, Boisdeffre, that he had convinced himself of Dreyfus' 
innocence and of the guilt of another officer, Major Walsin-Esterhazy. 
Six months later, Picquard was removed to a dangerous post in Tunisia. 
At the same time, Bernard Lazare, on behalf of Dreyfus* brothers, pub- 
lished the first pamphlet of the Affair: Une erreur judiciare; la verite sur 
I' affaire Dreyfus. In June 1897 Picquard informed Scheurer-Kesten, Vice- 
President of the Senate, of the facts of the trials and of Dreyfus' innocence. 
In November 1897 Cl&nenceau started his fight for re-examination of 
the case. Four weeks later Zola joined the ranks of the "Dreyfusards." 
J* Accuse was published by C16menceau's newspaper in January 1898- At 
the same time, Picquard was arrested. Zola, tried for calumny of the 
army, was convicted by both the ordinary tribunal and the Court of 
Appeal. In August 1898 Esterhazy was dishonorably discharged because 
of embezzlement. He at once hurried to a British journalist and told 
him that he and not Dreyfuswas the author of the "bordereau/' which 
he had forged in Dreyfus' handwriting on orders from Colonel Sandherr, 
his superior and former chief of the counter espionage division. A few 
days later Colonel Henry, another member of the same department, con- 
fessed forgeries of several other pieces of the secret Dreyfus-dossier and 
committed suicide. Thereupon the Court of Appeal ordered an investiga- 
tion of tfxe Dreyfus case. 

IH Julie 1899 the Court of Appeal annulled the original sentence 

173 4 


against Dreyfus of 1894. The revision-trial took place in Rennes in 
August. The sentence was made ten years' imprisonment because of 
"alleviating circumstances/' A week later Dreyfus was pardoned by the 
President of the Republic The World Exposition opened in Paris in 
April 1900. In May, when the success of the Exposition was guaranteed, 
the Chamber of Deputies, with overwhelming majority, voted against 
any further revision of the Dreyfus case. In December of the same year 
all trials and lawsuits connected with the affair were liquidated through 
a general amnesty. 

In 1903 Dreyfus asked for a new revision. His petition was neglected 
until 1906) when CMmenceau had become Prime Minister. In July 1906 
the Court of Appeal annulled the sentence of Rennes and acquitted 
Dreyfus of all charges. The Court of Appeal, however, had no authority 
to acquit; it should have ordered a new trial. Another revision before 
a military tribunal would, in all probability and despite the overwhelm- 
ing evidence in favor of Dreyfus, have led to a new conviction. Dreyfus, 
therefore, never was acquitted in accordance with the law. 1 

"What irony is this/' cried Georges Q&nenceau, "that men should 
have stormed the Bastille, guillotined their king and promoted a major 
revolution, only to discover in the end that it had become impossible to 
get a man tried in accordance with the lawl"* Indeed, it must have been 
a bitter experience for the French people to watch the century which had 
opened with the Revolution and the fame of the Grande ArmSe come to 
an end in a morass of petty scandals and political graft, with republic 
and army alike in the dust and a hitherto unknown species of nationalism, 
cruel, cynical and full of humbug, rearing its ugly head. 8 More dreadful 
still, however, was the experience of the Jewish people who saw their 
liberty challenged and their rights impugned in the very land which had 
been the cradle of their emancipation. 

The case of Captain Dreyfus was never really settled. The reinstate- 

*The most extensive and stffl indispensable work on the subject ia that of Hdnach, 
Joseph. L'Affabe Dreyfus (Paris 1908-11) 7 voli. The moit detailed among recent studies, 
written from a sodalbt viewpoint, is by Herzog, Wflhefau, Der Kampf einer RepuHik 
(Zurich 1935). Very valuable aze ita exhaustive chronological tablet The best political and 
historical evaluation of the affair Is to be found In Brogan, D. W., The Development of 
Modern France (1940) bks. vt and *iL Brief and reliable is Chaxensol, G., L'Aff^re Dreyfus 
et to Troisteme RepubUque (1980). 

'Qemencean, Centre la justice (Paris 1900) ; article dated February 5, 1899. 

*CL du Card. Roger Martin, Jem Sarrois (Paris 1928) p. 818: "This is a remarkable 
century which opened with the Revolution and ended with the Affmir*! Perhaps it wfll be 
called the century of rubhtu." 


ment of the accused was never recognized by the masses and the passions 
which were originally aroused never entirely subsided. As late as 1908, 
nine years after the pardon and two years after Dreyfus was deared, when, 
at Clfcnenceau's instance, the body of Emile Zola was transferred to the 
Pantheon, Alfred Dreyfus was openly attacked on the street. A Paris 
court, moreover, by acquitting his assailant indicated that it "dissented" 
from the decision which had deared Dreyfus. Even more significant is 
the strange fact that neither the first nor the second World War has been 
able to bury the affair in oblivion.* At the pr&ni&re of "L'Affaire Dreyfus" 
in 1931, 5 the atmosphere of the nineties still prevailed with quarrels in 
the auditorium, stinkbombs in the stalls, the shock troops of the Action 
Franchise standing around to strike terror in actors, audience and by- 
standers. Nor did the government Laval's government act in any way 
other than its predecessors some thirty years ago: it gladly admitted to 
be unable (actually it was unwilling) to guarantee a single undisturbed 
performance, thereby providing a new late triumph for the anti- 
Dreyfusards. The play had to be suspended. When Dreyfus died in 1935, 
the general press was afraid to touch the issue 6 while the leftist papers 
still spoke in the old terms of Dreyfus' innocence and the right-wing 
of Dreyfus' guilt. 

Even today the Dreyfus affair is still a kind of shibboleth in French 
politics. When P&ain was condemned the influential provincial news- 
paper Voix du Nord (of Lille) linked the P&ain case to the Dreyfus 
case and maintained that "the country remains divided as it was after the 
Dreyfus case/' because the verdict of the court could not settle a political 
conflict and "bring to all the French peace of mind or of heart" 7 This 
means that French tribunals still lack sufficient authority to apply the 
law a state of affairs in which Clmenceau fifty years earlier recognized 
the approaching end of constitutional government and the coming decay 
of the national state. 8 

* During the 'twenties two officers at the hehest of the Action Francoise undertook to 
establish Dreyfus' guilt. The result is embodied in die standard reference manual of the anti- 
Dieyfusards, Dutrait-Crozon, Henri (a pseudonym) . Prtcis de I' Affaire Drsyfus (Paris 1924} . 

"Written by Rehfisch and Wilhelm Herzog this drama appeared under the pseudonym 
of Ren Kestner. 

The Action Frangmse (July 19. 1935) praised the restraint of the French press while 
voicing the opinion that "the famous champions of justice and truth of forty years ago have 
left no disciples." 

'See G. H. Archambault in New York Times (August IS, 1945) p. 5. 

See his article dated January 17, 1898 in L'Irdquitt (Paris 1899) : "Patriotism, requires 
a fatherland. And there can be no fatherland without justice. There is no fatherland without 


Prom the Farce to the Catastrophe 

While the Dreyfus afeir in its broader political aspects belongs to 
the twentieth century, the Dreyfus case, the various trials of the Jewish 
Captain Alfred Dreyfus are quite typical of the nineteenth century, 
when men followed legal proceedings so keenly because each instance 
afforded a test of its greatest achievement, the complete impartiality of 
the law. It is characteristic of the period that a miscarriage of justice 
could arouse such political passions and inspire such an endless succession 
of trials and retrials, not to speak of duels and fisticuffs. TEe doctrine of 
equality before the law was still so firmly implanted in the conscience 
of the civilized world that a single miscarriage of justice could provoke 
public indignation from Moscow to New York. Nor was any one, except 
in France itself, so advanced in modernism as to associate the matter 
with political issues.* The wrong done to a single Jewish officer in France 
was able to draw bom the rest of the world a more vehement and united 
reaction than all the persecutions of German Jews a generation later. 
Even Tsarist Russia could accuse France of barbarism while in Germany 
members of the Kaiser's entourage would express themselves openly in 
terms of indignation matched only by the radical press of the nineteen- 

The dramatis personae of the case might have stepped out of the pages 
of Balzac cm the one hand, the dass-conscioiis generals frantically cover- 
ing up for the members of their own clique and, on the other, their antag- 
onist, Picquard, with his calm, clear-eyed and slightly ironical honesty. 
Beside them stand the nondescript crowd of the men in Parliament, each 
terrified of what his neighbor might know; the president of the republic, 
notorious patron of the Paris brothels, and the examining magistrates, 
living solely for the sake of social contacts. Then there is Dreyfus him- 

The sate exceptions, the Catholic journals most of whldi agitated In afl countries against 
Dreyfus, wfll be discussed below! American public opinion was such that in addition to pro- 
tests then began to be organised a boycott of the Piris World Exposition scheduled for 1900. 
On the effect of this threat see below. For a comprehensive study of this subject see the 
master's essay on ffle at Columbia Unfaoafty by Rose A. HsJperin, "The Am^rf^ Reaction 
to the Dreyfus Case" (1941). The author wishes to thank Professor S. W. Baron for his 
kindness in placing this study at her disposal. 

"Thus, for example, EL B. von Budow, the German duugt d'aflafres at Paris, wrote to 
ReJchchancenor Hohenlohe regarding the verdict at Rcnnes that It was a "mixture of vul- 
garity and cowardice; the surest signs of barbarism." and that Ranee lias therewith shut 
herself out of the femfrf of cMllzcd nations." dted by Henog, op. cfc v under date of Sep- 
tember 12, 1899. In the opinion of von Buelow the Afftir* was the 'fetbboleth" of 

(BerHn 199M1) veL 


self, actually a parvenu, continually boasting to his colleagues of his family 
fortune which he spent on women; his brothers, pathetically offering their 
entire fortune and then reducing the offer to 150,000 francs for the release 
of their kinsman, never quite sure whether they wished to make a sacrifice 
or simply to suborn the general staff; and the lawyer D&nange, really con- 
vinced of his client's innocence but basing the defense on an issue of 
doubt so as to save himself from attacks and injury to his personal interests. 
Lastly, there is the adventurer Esterhazy, he of the ancient escutcheon, 
so utterly bored by this bourgeois world as to seek relief equally in hero- 
ism and knavery. An erstwhile second lieutenant of the Foreign Legion, 
he greatly impressed his colleagues by his superior boldness and impu- 
dence. Always in trouble, he lived by serving as duelist's second to 
Jewish officers and by blackmailing their wealthy co-religionists. Indeed, 
he would avail himself of the good offices of the chief rabbi himself in 
order to obtain the requisite introductions. Even in his ultimate down- 
fall he remained true to the Balzac tradition. Not treason nor wild 
dreams of a great orgy in which a hundred thousand besotten Prussian 
Uhlans would run berserk through Paris 11 but a paltry embezzlement 
of a relative's cash sent him to his doom. And what shall we say of Zola, 
with his impassioned moral fervor, his somewhat empty pathos and his 
melodramatic declaration, on the eve of his flight to London, that he had 
heard the voice of Dreyfus begging him to bring this sacrifice? 12 

All this belongs typically to the nineteenth century and by itself 
would never have survived two World Wars. The old-time enthusiasm 
of the mob for Esterhazy, like its hatred against Zola, have long since died 
down to embers, but so too has that fiery passion against aristocracy and 
clergy which had once inflamed Jaurfes and which had alone secured the 
final release of Dreyfus. As the Cagoulard affair was to show, officers of the 
general staff had no longer to fear the wrath of the people when they 
hatched their plots for a coup d'&at. Since the separation of church 
and state, France, though Certainly no longqr clerically-minded, had 
lost a great deal of her anti-clerical feeling, jus^ as the Catholic Church 
had itself lost a great part of its political aspirations. P&ain's recent 
attempt to convert the republic into a Catholic state was blocked by the 
utter indifference of the people and by the lower clergy's hostility to 

n Rematch, Theodore, fftooire somrriaire de ? Affaire Dreyfus (Paris 1924) p. 96. 

M Reported by Joseph Reinach, as ptcd by Berzog, op. cif., under date of Jttne 18, 1898. 


Nevertheless, the Dreyfus case left behind it two significant legacies. 
The first is hatred of the Jews; the second, suspicion of the republic itself, 
of Parliament and the state marim*. The larger section of the public 
could still go on considering them, rightly or wrongly, as under the 
influence of the Jews and the power of the banks. Down to our times the 
term anti-Dreyfiisard can still serve as a recognized appellation of all that 
is anti-republican, anti-democratic and antisemitic. A few years ago it 
still comprised everything; from the monarchism of the Action Fran- 
pisff to the National Bolshevism of Doriot and the social fascism of Diat. 
It was not, however, to these fascist groups, numerically unimportant as 
they were, that the Third Republic owed its collapse. On the contrary, 
the plain, if paradoxical, truth is that their influence was never so slight as 
at the moment when the collapse actually took place. What made France 
fall was the tact that she had no more true Dreyfusards, no one who be- 
lieved that democracy and freedom, equality and justice could any longer 
be defended or realized under the republic 18 At long last the republic 
fell like overripe fruit into the lap of that old anti-Dreyfusard clique 14 
who had always formed the kernel of her army, and this at a time when 
she had few enemies but almost no friends. How little the P&ain clique 
was a product of German fascism was shown dearly by its slavish adher- 
ence to the old formulas of forty years ago. That notorious Anglophobia, 
which once set the entire colonial administration against the republic 
and which was really the result of reverses in Egypt* remained unaltered, 
despite the fact that the French possessions in North Africa were threat- 
ened jfixyp? ouite a 

While Germany shrewdly truncated her and ruined her entire econ- 

"Tliat even CUmenceau no longer believed in it toward the end of hit life is shown 
dearly by the remark quoted in Benjamin, Ren& Cltmenceeu dens U retroite (Paris 1980) 
p. 249: "Hope? Impossible! How can I go on hoping when I no longer believe in that which 
round me, namely, democracy?" 

"Weygand. a known adherent of the Action Francaise, waa in his youth an and-Dreyfus- 
ard. He was one of the subscribe*! to the "Henry Memorial" established by the Ubn Punk 
in honor off the unfortunate Colonel Henry, who paid with luidde for his forgeries while on 
the General Staff. The list of subscribers was later published by Gnflhxd. one of the editors 
of L'Avrore (Ctenenceau's papec) , under the title of JL* Monument Henry (Paris 1899) . 
As ftxr PetaiHj he was on the general staff of the military government of Paris from 1895 to 
1899, at a tone when nobody but a proven antf-Dreyfuiard would hate been tolerated- See 
de Latoor, Conraminr, *Xe Marfdud Pfcain/* In Rtvue d* Pair, wL i ( p. 57-69. Brogan, 
D.W., The Development at Modern Am, p. 38fc pertinently observes that of the five World 
War I nmfaala, four (Foch, P&ain, Lyautey and Ffcyolle) wen bad republicans, whfle the 
fifth* Joflif had well-known clerical 


omy through the demarcation-line, France's leaders in Vichy tinkered 
with the old Barrs formula of "autonomous provinces/' thereby crippling 
her all the more. They introduced anti-Jewish legislation more promptly 
than any Quisling, boasting all the while that they had no need to import 
antisemitism from Germany and that their law governing the Jews differed 
in essential points from that of the Reich. 15 They sought to mobilize 
the Catholic dergy against the Jews, only to give proof that the priests 
have not only lost their political influence but are not actually anti- 
semites. On the contrary, it is the very bishops and synods which the 
Vichy regime would turn once more into political powers who voiced the 
most emphatic protest against the persecution of the Jews. 

Not the mere trials but the Dreyfus affair in its entirety offers a fore- 
gleam of the twentieth century. As Bernanos pointed out in 193 1, 16 "The 
Dreyfus affair already belongs to that tragic era which certainly was not 
ended by the last war. The affair reveals the same inhuman character, 
preserving amid the welter of unbridled passions and the flames of hate 
an inconceivably cold and callous heart." It was not in France, however, 
that the true sequel to the affair was to be found. The Third Republic 
succumbed to the deep-rooted evils of the nineteenth century which won 
political significance first in France, while their tremendous power of 
destruction first broke, out in Germany. 

The reason that Fiance fell an easy prey to Nazi aggression is not far 
to seek. Hitler's propaganda spoke in a language long familiar and never 

"The myth that P<tain's anti-Jewish legislation was forced upon him by the Reich, which 
took in almost the whole of French Jewry, has been exploded on the French side itself. 
See especially the excellent work of Simon, Ives, La Grande crise de la Rtpublique Frangaisei 
observations sur la vie politique des frangais de 1918 a 1938 (Montreal 1941) . It is partly on 
Simon's conclusions (p. 175 ff.) that our estimate of France's post-war situation is based. 
That French antisemitism did not have to be invented by Ptain is shown further by 
Giraudoux, J,, Pleins Pouvoirs (Paris 1939) . The author was a close friend of Daladier and 
was minister of propaganda in the Daladier cabinet until its collapse. His antisemltic dia- 
tribes (p. 66 ff.) are directed specifically against the poorer Jews born abroad and it is just 
this tendency which characterized the Vichy laws. Two years before the Petain regime 
Giraudoux was writing: "We agree entirely with Hitler that no policy can attain its higher 
form unless it be racial;" op. tit., 75-76. Giraudoux is still highly estimated by French 
intellectuals and, as far as I know, none of the new papers and magazines in liberated France 
has denounced his antisemitism and pro-fascist attitude before and during the war. 

For Nazi criticism of French antisemitism see Vernunft, Wilfried, "Die Hintergrfcnde des 
franzosischen Antisemitismus," in Nationalsozialistische Monatshefte (June, 1939) ; this critic 
spares Celine alone. 

"Cf. Bernanos, Georges, La Grande peur des bien-pensants, Edouard Drtimont (Paris 
1931) p. 263. 


quite forgotten. That the "CaesarisnT 17 of the Action Frangaise and the 
nihilistic nationalism of Harris and Maurras never succeeded in their 
original form is due to a variety of causes, all of them negative. They 
lacked social vision and were unable to translate into popular terms those 
mental phantasmagoria which their contempt for the intellect had en- 
gendered. Moreover, France was saved from the taint of an indigenous 
fascism by that revolutionary tradition which saw in the ideal of equality 
a prime source of her glory and of which Clemenceau was the last 
champion. However, while this patriotism of the last Jacobin still won 
the first World War it was incapable of winning the peace. 18 

The present study is concerned essentially with the political bearings 
of the Dreyfus affair and not with the legal aspects of the case. Sharply 
outlined in it are a number of traits characteristic of the twentieth 
century. Faint and barely distinguishable during the early decades of the 
century, they have at last emerged into full daylight and stand revealed 
to us as belonging to the main trends of modern times. After thirty 
years of a mild, purely social form of antisemitism it had become a little 
difficult to remember that the cry, "Death to the Jews," had echoed 
through the length and breadth of a modern state once before when its 
domestic policy was crystallized in the issue of antisemitism. Forgotten 
were the Algerian pogroms instigated and carried out not, as was claimed, 
by "backward Arabs" but by thoroughly sophisticated officers of the 
French colonial administration. And forgotten too were the days when 
a free and equal franchise elected the Jew-hater, Karl Lueger, mayor of 
Vienna and another, Max Rgis, mayor of Algiers. For thirty years the 
old legends of world conspiracy had been no more than the conventional 
stand-by of the tabloid press and the dime novel and the world did not 
easily remember that not long ago, but at a time when the Protocols of 
the Elders of Zion were still unknown, a whole nation had been wrack- 
ing its brains trying to determine whether "secret Rome" or "secret 
Judah" held the reins of world politics. 19 

1T Gurian, Waldemar, Der integrate Nationalism in Frankreich: Charles Maurras und 
die Action Franfaise (Frankfurt-am-Main 1931) p. 92, makes a sharp distinction between the 
monarchist movement and other reactionary tendencies. The same author discusses the 
Dreyfus case in his Die politischen und sozialen Ideen des franzosischen Katholitismus 
(M. Gladbach 1929) . 

* Cf. Simon, op. cit., p. 20: "The spirit of the French Revolution survived the defeat of 
Napoleon for more than a century, ... It triumphed but only to fade unnoticed on November 
11, 1918. The French Revolution? Its dates must surely be set at 1789-1918." 

M For the creation of such myths on both sides, cf. Hatevy, Daniel, "Apologie pour notre 


The vehement and nihilistic philosophy of spiritual self-hatred 20 
suffered something of an eclipse when a world at temporary peace with 
itself yielded no crop of outstanding criminals to justify the exaltation of 
brutality and unscrupulousness. The Jules Gurins had to wait nearly 
forty yean before the atmosphere was ripe again for quasi-military storm- 
troops. The dedasss, produced through 19th-century economy, had 
to grow numerically until they were strong minorities of the nations, 
before that coup d'ltat, which had remained but a grotesque plot* 1 in 
Fiance, could achieve reality in Germany almost without effort. The 
prelude to Nazism was played over the entire European stage. German 
political romanticism was an integral part of it and so was Fan-Slavism, 
in which the doctrine of racial selection was first combined with anti- 
semitism. It is into this general framework that the history of the 
Dreyfus case, like that of "Christian Social" antisemitism in Austria, fits. 
For the present purpose, therefore, the Dreyfus case is no bizarre, im- 
perfectly solved "crime," 11 not an affair of staff officers disguised by false 
beards and dark glasses, peddling their sinister forgeries by night in the 
streets of Paris. Its hero is not Dreyfus but Ctemenceau and it begins 
not with the arrest of a Jewish staff officer but with the Panama scandal. 

The Third Republic and French Jewry 

Between 1880 and 1888 the Panama Company, under the leadership 
of de Lesseps, who had constructed the Suez- Canal, was able to make but 
little practical progress. Nevertheless, within France itself it succeeded 
during this period in raising no less than 1,335,538,454 francs in private 
loans. 18 This success is *hf more fjgfiifigfrnt when one considers the care- 

V in Cahien de la qidmaine, safes 11. no. 10 (1910); even Henog, op. at* p. 27 ff, 
retained a belief in "becret Rome.- 

A distinctly modern note it struck in Zola* Letter to franc* of 1898: "We hear on an 
ides that the concept of liberty has gone bankrupt. When the Dreyfus business cropped 
up, this prevalent hatred of liberty found a golden opportunity. . . . Don't yon see that the 
only reason why Scfaeurer-Kestner has been attacked with snch fury is that he belongs to 
a generation which bdieved in liberty and worked for it? Today one shrugs one's ihoulders 
at such thingi ... -CHd greybeards,' one laughs, 'outmoded greatfaeartsY* GL Etanog, op. cfe, 
under date of January 6, 1898. 

11 The fiirdcality of the various attempts made during the ^nineties to stage a coop d'&at 
was clearly axudyied by Rosa Luxemburg hi her article. "Die aoriale Srise in ImkreloV 
tnDuNeue Zeit, ToL i (1901). 

"Whether Colonel Henry forged the bordereau on orders from the chief of staff or upon 
his own Initiative, is stfll unknown. Similarly, the attempted BssmhMricin of Labor!, counsel 
for Dreyfus at the Rennes tribunal, has never been properly cleared up* Q. Zola, Emfle, 
Cornrtprnfenor. let*** A Jftffrv I*ori (Pufe 19^ p. 8Z, n. 1. 

Walter, Z*m^^ (Ban*** 1*88) p.273. 


fulness of the French middle dass in money matters. The secret of 
the company's success lies in the fact that its several public loans were 
invariably backed by Parliament The building of the Canal was generally 
regarded as a public and national service rather than as a private enter- 
prise. When the company went bankrupt, therefore, it was the foreign 
policy of the republic that really suffered the blow. Only after a few 
years did it become dear that even more important was the ruination of 
some half million middle-class Frenchmen. Both the press and the 
Parliamentary Commission of Inquiry ram^ to roughly the same con- 
clusion: the company had already been bankrupt for several years. 
De Lesseps, they contended, had been living in hopes of a mirade, cher- 
ishing the dream that new funds would be somehow forthcoming to push 
on with the work. In order to win sanction for the new loans he had been 
obliged to bribe the press, half of Parliament and all of the higher officials. 
This, however, had called for the employment of middlemen and these in 
turn had commanded exorbitant commissions. Thus* the very thing 
which had originally inspired public confidence in the enterprise, namely, 
Parliament's backing of the loans, proved in the end the factor which 
converted a more or less sound private business into a colossal racket. 

There were no Jews either among the bribed members of Parliament 
or on the board of the company. Jacques Reinach and Corn&ius Herz, 
however, vied for the honor of distributing the baksheesh among the 
members of the Chamber, the former working on the right wing of the 
bourgeois parties and the latter on the radicals (the anti-clerical parties 
of the petty bourgeoisie) .* Reinach was the secret financial counsellor 
of the government during the 'eighties 25 and therefore handled its rela- 
tions with the Panama Company, while Herz's role was a double one. 
On the one hand he served Reinach as liaison with the radical wings 
of Parliament, to which Reinach himself had no access; on the other this 
office gave Mm such a good insight into the extent of the corruption that 
he was able constantly to blackmail his boss and to involve him ever 
deeper in the mess.* 6 

Naturally there were quite a number of smaller Jewish businessmen 
working for both Herz and Reinach. Their names, however, may well 

*Cf. Suarez, Georges, La Vie orgue&kuse de CUmeneeau (Paris 1990) p. 156. 

* Such, for Instance, was the testimony of the former minister, Rouvier, before the Com- 
mission of Inquiry. 

Banes (quoted by Bernanos, op. eft., p. 271) puts the matter tersely: "^Vhenever Reinach 
had swallowed something; it was Cornelius Herz who knew how to make him disgorge it" 


continue to repose in the oblivion into which they have deservedly fallen. 
The more uncertain the situation of the company, the higher, naturally, 
was the rate of commission, until in the end the company itself received 
but little of the moneys advanced to it. Shortly before the crash Herz 
received for a single intra-parliamentary transaction an advance of no 
less than 600,000 francs. The advance, however, was premature. The 
loan was not taken up and the shareholders were simply 600,000 francs 
out of pocket. 27 The whole ugly racket ended disastrously for Reinach. 
Harassed by the blackmail of Herz he finally committed suicide. 28 

Shortly before his death, however, he had taken a step the conse- 
quences of which for French Jewry can scarcely be exaggerated. He had 
given the Libre Parole, Edouard Drumont's antisemitic daily, his list of 
suborned members of Parliament, the so-called "remittance men/' im- 
posing as the sole condition that the paper should cover up for him 
personally when it published its exposure. The Libre Parole was trans- 
formed overnight from a small and politically insignificant sheet into 
one of the most influential papers in the country with 300,000 circulation. 
The golden opportunity proffered by Reinach was handled with con- 
summate care and skill. The list of culprits was published in small instal- 
ments so that hundreds of politicians had to live on tenterhooks morning 
after morning. Drumont's journal and with it the entire antisemitic 
press and movement emerged at last as a dangerous force in the Third 

The Panama scandal, which, in Drumont's phrase, rendered the in- 
visible visible, 29 brought with it two revelations. First, it disclosed that 
the members of Parliament and civil servants had become businessmen. 
Secondly, it showed that the intermediaries between private enterprise 
(in this case, the company) and the machinery of the state were almost 
exclusively Jews. 80 In France, as in all European countries where they 
had obtained emancipation, Jews had become, during a period of 150 
years, closely connected with the finances of the state. In the eighteenth 
century this had taken the form of direct subsidies and war supplies fur- 

** Cf. Frank, op. cit., in the chapter headed "Panama;" cf. Suarez, op. cit. t p. 155. 

* The quarrel between Reinach and Herz lends to the Panama scandal- an air of gangster- 
ism unusual in the nineteenth century. In his resistance to Herz's blackmail Reinach went so 
for as to recruit the aid of former police inspectors in placing a price of ten thousand francs 
on the head of his rival; cf. Suarez, ibid., p. 157. 

*Cf. Drumont, Edouard, Les trtteaux du sttcces: les heros et les pitres (Paris 1901) 
p. 229 ff. 

30 Cf. Levaillant, "La Genese de rantiseinitisme sous la troisieme RpubKque," in Revue 
des eludes fwves, vol. liii (1907) p. 97. 


nished by Jewish financiers. Thereafter, however, it had developed into 
a thriving business in the underwriting of state bonds, with the practical 
result that the latter were scarcely ever bought by the public unless en- 
dorsed by Jewish banking houses. From the restoration of the Bourbons 
down to the time of the Second Empire this important branch of national 
economy had been pretty well monopolized by the Rothschilds. An at- 
tempt by their rivals, Pfreires Brothers, to wrest it out of their hands by 
establishing the Credit Mobilier ended in a compromise. Although, as 
we shall see, the creation of the republic seriously weakened this exclusive 
control by the Jews, they were still powerful enough in 1882 to drive into 
bankruptcy the Catholic Union G6nrale, the real purpose of which was 
to ruin Jewish bankers. 81 

When the Peace Treaty was drawn up in 1871 its financial provisions 
were handled both on the German and on the French side by Jewish 
bankers. 82 Germany was represented by Bleichroder to whom, as is well 
known, Bismarck owed the financing of the war against Austria in 1866, 
while French interests were represented by the Rothschilds. It was this 
fact which turned French antisemitism, hitherto harping on a social- 
demagogic note, 38 into a chauvinistic movement. The Jews were blamed 
for the defeat of France, whereas they really deserved some credit for 
directing the financial demands of Germany into reasonable channels. 
The truth of the matter is that since the Jews were an international ele- 
ment in Europe and represented international interests it was impossible 
to achieve the modern type of "peace through annihilation" so long as 
they had a hand in it. Immediately after the conclusion of the peace, 
the house of Rothschild embarked on an unprecedented policy: it came 
out in open sympathy for the monarchists and against the republic. 84 
What was new in this was not the monarchist trend "but the fact that fen the 

* Cf. Lazare, Bernard, Contre rantis&nitisme: histoire ffune poldmique (Paris 1896) . 

"Cf. the report of the German entry into Paris, in Figaro (February 28, 1883). The 
report achieved notoriety through its reproduction by Drumont in his La France jwve 
(Paris 1885) voL I, p. 396. 

See especially Toussenel, Let Juifg, rois de r&poque (Paris 1846) . For the development 
of antisemitxc ideologies in France see also Hoberg, CL August, "Die gtistigen GruncQagen des 
Antisemitismus im moderaen Frankrdch," in Forschungen xur Judenfrage (Hamburg 1940) 

*On the complicity of the Haute Banque in the Orleanist movement see Charensol, G., 
L'Affairc Dreyfus et la TroisUme IMpubliqtie (Paris 1930) . One of the spokesmen of this 
powerful group was Arthur Meyer, publisher of the Gauloia. A baptized Jew, Meyer belonged 
Co the most virulent section of the anti-Dreyfusards. See Glemenceau, L'Iniquitt, in the 
article "Le spectacle du jour;" see also the entries in Hohenlohe's diary, in Herzog, op. cit v 
under date of June II, 1898. 


first time an important Jewish financial power set itself in opposition 
to the current regime. Up to that time the Rothschilds had accommo- 
dated themselves to whatever political system was in power. It seemed, 
therefore, that the republic was the first form of government which really 
had no use for them* 

Both the political influence and the social status of the Jews had for 
centuries been due to the fact that they were a closed group who worked 
directly for the state and were directly protected by it on account of their 
special services. Their close and immediate connection with the machin- 
ery of government was possible only so long as the state remained at a 
distance from the people, while the ruling classes continued to be indif- 
ferent as to its management. In such circumstances the Jews were, from 
the state's point of view, the most dependable element of society just be- 
cause they did not really belong to it. The parliamentary system allowed 
the liberal bourgeoisie to gain control of the state machine. To this 
bourgeoisie, however, the Jews had never belonged and they therefore 
regarded it with a not unwarranted suspicion. The regime no longer 
needed the Jews as much as before since it was now possible to achieve 
through Parliament a financial expansion beyond the wildest dreams of 
the former more or less absolute or constitutional monarchs. 

Thus the leading Jewish houses gradually faded from the scene of 
finance politics and betook themselves more and more to the antisemitic 
salons of the arist&cracy, there to dream of financing reactionary move- 
ments designed to restore the good old days. 85 Meanwhile, however, other 
Jewish circles, newcomers among Jewish plutocrats were beginning to take 
an increasing part in the commercial life of the Third Republic. What 
the Rothschilds had almost forgotten and what had nearly cost them their 
power was the simple fact that once they withdrew, even for a moment, 
from active interest in a regime they immediately lost their influence not 
only upon cabinet circles but upon the Jews. The Jewish immigrants 
were the first to see their chance. 86 They realized only too well that the 

85 On current leanings toward Bonapartism see Frank, op. cit., p. 419, based upon un- 
published documents taken from the archives of the German ministry of foreign affairs* 

M Jacques Reinach was born in Germany, received an Italian barony and was naturalized 
in France. Cornelius Herz was born in France, the son of Bavarian parents. Migrating to 
America in early youth, he acquired citizenship and amassed a fortune there* For further 
details, cf. Brogan, op. cit., p. 268 ff. 

Characteristic of the way in which native Jews disappeared from public office is the fact 
that as soon as the affairs of the Panama Company began to go badly, LvyCrmieux, its 
original financial adviser, was replaced by Reinach; see Brogan, op. cit., book vi, chapter ii. 


republic as it had developed, was not the logical sequel of a united 
people's uprising. Out of the slaughter of some 20,000 Communards, 
out of military defeat and economic collapse what had in fact emerged 
was a regime whose capacity for government had. been doubtful from its 
inception. So much, indeed, was this the case that within three years a 
society brought to the brink of ruin was clamoring for a dictator. And 
when it got one in the presidency of General MacMahon (whose only 
riaim to distinction was his defeat at Sedan) that individual had promptly 
turned out to be a parliamentarian of the old school and after a few 
years (1879) he resigned. Meanwhile, however, the various elements of 
society, from the opportunists to the radicals and from the coalitionists to 
the extreme right, had made up their minds what kind of policies they 
required from their representatives and what methods they ought to 
employ. The right policy was defense of vested interests and the right 
method was corruption. 97 

It has been justly observed that at this period of French history every 
political party had its Jew, in the same way that every royal household 
once had its court-Jew. 88 The difference, however, was profound. In- 
vestment of Jewish capital in the state had helped to give the Jews a 
productive role in the economy of Europe. Without their assistance the 
eighteenth-century development of the national state and its independent 
civil service would have been inconceivable. It was, after all, to these 
court-Jews that Western Jewry owed its emancipation. The shady trans- 
actions of Reinach and his confederates did not even lead to permanent 
riches. 89 All they did was to shroud in yet deeper darkness the mysterious 
and scandalous relations between business and politics. These parasites 
upon a corrupt body served to provide a thoroughly decadent society 
with an exceedingly dangerous alibi. Since they were Jews it was possible 

"Lachapelle, Georges, Let Finances de la Troisteme MpubUque (Paris 1937) p. 54 ff., 
describes in detail how the bureaucracy gained control of public funds, how the Budget 
OommMon was governed entirely by private interest* and how after 1881 swindle, to quote 
L&m Say (a Jew) , became the only law. With regard to the economic status of members 
of Parliament dL Bernanos, op. dt. t p. 192: "Most of them,, like Gambetta, lacked even a 
change of underclothes^ The Panama scandal was preceded by the so-called "Wilson 
affair;" the President's son-in-law was found driving an open traffic in honors and decorations. 

"As Frank remarks (op. cit., p. 321 ft), the right had its Arthur Meyer, Boulangerism 
its Alfred Naquet, the opportunists their Reinachs and the Radicals their Dr. Cornelius Hen. 

"It is to them and to them alone that Drnmont's charge applies (L*t trttaux du nuces, 
p. 287) : "Those great Jews who start from nothing and attain everything . . . they come 
from God knows where, live in a mystery, die in a guess. . . . They don't arrive, they Jump 
up. ... They don't die. they fade oat." 


to make scapegoats of them when public indignation had to be allayed. 
Afterwards things could go on the same old way. The antisemites could 
at once point to the Jewish parasites of a corrupt society in order to 
"prove" that all Jews everywhere were nothing but termites within the 
otherwise healthy body of the people. It did not matter to them that the 
corruption of the body politic had started without the help of Jews; that 
the policy of businessmen (in a bourgeois society to which Jews had not 
belonged) and their ideal of unlimited competition had led to the disinte- 
gration of the state in party politics; that the ruling classes had proved 
incapable any longer of protecting their own interests, let alone those of 
the country as a whole. 40 The antisemites who called themselves patriots 
introduced that new species of national feeling which consists primarily 
in a complete whitewash of one's own people and a sweeping condemna- 
tion of all others. 

The Jews could remain a separate group outside of society only so 
long as a more or less homogeneous and stable state machine had a use 
for them and was interested in protecting them. The decay of the state 
machine brought about the dissolution of the closed ranks of Jewry, 
which had so long been bound up with it. The first sign of this appeared 
in the affairs conducted by newly naturalized French Jews over whom 
their native-born brethren had lost control in much the same way as 
occurred in the Germany of the inflation period. The newcomers filled 
the gaps between the commercial world and the state. Far more disastrous 
in its results was another process which likewise began at this time and 
which was imposed from above. The dissolution of the state into factions, 
while it disrupted the closed society of the Jews, did not force them into a 
vacuum in which they could go on vegetating outside of state and society. 
For that the Jews were too rich and, at a time when money was one of the 
salient requisites of power, too powerful. Rather did they tend to become 
absorbed into the variety of social "sets," in accordance with their political 
leanings or more frequently, their social connections. This, however, did 
not lead to their disappearance. On the contrary, they maintained 
certain relations with the state machine and continued, albeit in a 
crucially different form, to manipulate the business of the state. Thus, 

*>Herzog, op. cit., p. 258-59: "The president of the republic, ... the former leather 
merchant, taking superannuated Jewesses to bed; the cabinet ministers, related to the big 
bosses and the armament tycoons; the senators and civil servants drawing incomes as inactive 
supervisors o railroad and shipping companies; and the old dodderer who became governor 
of Paris because he was a relative or friend of someone who counted. . . . Can one have any 
regard for such a world?" 


despite their known opposition to the Third Republic, it was none other 
than the Rothschilds who undertook the placement of the Russian loan 
while Arthur Meyer, though baptized and an avowed monarchist, was 
among those involved in the Panama scandal.- Thus it came about that 
the newcomers in French Jewry who formed the principal links between 
private commerce and the machinery of government were followed by 
the native born. But if the Jews had previously constituted a strong, 
close-knit group, whose usefulness for the state was obvious, they were 
now split up into cliques, mutually antagonistic but all bent on the same 
purpose of helping society to batten on the state. 

The Alliance of the Army and Clergy Against the Republic 

Seemingly removed from all such factors, seemingly immune from 
all corruption, stood the army, a heritage from the Second Empire. The 
republic had never dared to dominate it, even when monarchistic sym- 
pathies and intrigues came to open expression during the Boulanger crisis. 
The officer class consisted then as before of the sons of those old aristo- 
cratic families whose ancestors, as emigres, had fought against their 
fatherland during the revolutionary wars. 41 These officers were strongly 
under the influence of the clergy who ever since the Revolution had made 
a point of supporting reactionary and anti-republican movements. Their 
influence was perhaps equally strong over those officers who were of some- 
what lower birth but who hoped, as a result of the Church's old practice 
of marking talent without regard to pedigree, to gain promotion with 
the help of the clergy. 

In contrast to the shifting and fluid cliques of society and Parliament, 
where admission was easy and allegiance fickle, stood the rigorous ex- 
clusiveness of the army, so characteristic of the caste-system. Neither 
military life, professional honor nor esprit de corps was what held its 
officers together to form a reactionary bulwark against the republic and 
against all democratic influences. It was simply the tie of caste. 42 The 
refusal of the state to democratize the army and to subject it to the civil 
authorities entailed remarkable consequences. It made the army an en- 
tity outside of the nation and created an armed power whose loyalties 
could be turned in directions which none could foretell. That this 
caste-ridden power, if but left to itself, was neither for nor against anyone 

41 Cf . Gohier, Urbain, UArmte de Condd: memorial de la trahison pour eclairer I'annuaire 
de I'arme'e sous la Troisieme Rdpublique (Paris 1898) . 

"See the excellent anonymous article, "The Breyfus Case: A Study of French opinion" 
in The Contemporary Review, vol. Ixxiv (October, ; 


is shown clearly by the story of the almost burlesque coup d'tat in which, 
despite statements to the contrary, it was really unwilling to take part. 
Even its notorious monarchism was, in the final analysis, nothing but an 
excuse for preserving itself as an independent interest-group, ready to 
defend its privileges "without regard to and in despite of, even against 
the republic." 43 Contemporary journalists and later historians have made 
valiant efforts to explain the conflict between military and civil powers 
during the Dreyfus affair in terms of an antagonism between "businessmen 
and soldiers." 44 We know today, however, how unjustified is this in- 
directly antisemitic interpretation. The intelligence department of the 
general staff were themselves reasonably expert at business. Were they 
not trafficking as openly in forged bordereaux and selling them as non- 
chalantly to foreign military attaches as a leather merchant might traffic 
in skins or the son-in-law of the president in honors and distinctions? 
Indeed, the zeal of Schwartzkoppen, the German attach^, who was anxious 
to discover more military secrets than France had to hide, must have been 
a positive source of embarrassment to these gentlemen of the counter- 
espionage service who, after all, could sell no more than they produced. 

It was the great mistake of Catholic politicians to imagine that, in 
pursuit of their European policy, they could make use of the French army 
simply because it appeared to be anti-republican. The Church was, in 
fact, slated to pay for this error with the loss of its entire political influ- 
ence in France. 45 When the department of intelligence finally emerged 
as a common fake-factory 46 no one in France, not even the army, was so 
seriously compromised as the Church. Towards the end of the last century 
the Catholic clergy had been seeking to recover its old political power in 
just those quarters where, for one or another reason, secular authority was 
on the wane among the people. Cases in point were those of Spain, where 
a decadent feudal aristocracy had brought about the economic and cultural 
ruin of the country, and Austria-Hungary, where a conflict of nationalities 

48 Cf. Luxemburg, loc. cit.: "The reason the army was reluctant to make a move was that 
it wanted to show its opposition to the civil power of the republic, without at the same 
time losing the force of that opposition by committing itself to a monarchy." 

44 It is under this caption that Maximilian Harden (a German Jew) described the Dreyfus 
case in Die Zukunft (1898) . Walter Frank, the antisemitic historian, employs the same 
slogan in the heading of his chapter on Dreyfus while Bernanos (op. cit., p. 413) remarks 
in the same vein that "rightly or wrongly, democracy sees in the military its most dangerous 

49 Cf, Lecanuet, Father Edouard, Les Signes avant-coureurs de la separation, 1894-1910 
(Paris 1930). 

"Bsterhazy, who was in a position to know, described the second bureau as a "fake 
factory;" cf. Weil, Bruno, L'Affaire Dreyfus <$>arfc 1950) p. 169. 


was threatening daily to disrupt the state. And such too was the case in 
Fiance, where the nation appeared to be sinking fast into the slough of 
conflicting interests* 47 

In France, as in Spain, the prosecution of this policy was mainly in 
the hands of the Jesuits. Working deviously through members of the 
general staff they had cunningly jockeyed themselves into a position where 
they could rely on the military "higher-ups" to help them turn the army 
into a "state within a state/* 48 The Army left in a political vacuum by 
the Third Republic gladly accepted this guidance which at least pro- 
vided for civilian leadership without which the military lose their "raison 
d'etre (which) is to defend the principle embodied in civilian society" 
as Gl&nencean put it. 

The Catholic Church then owed its popularity to the widespread 
popular skepticism which saw in the republic and in democracy the loss 
of all order, security and political wilL To many the hierarchic system of 
the Church seemed the only escape from chaos. Indeed, it was this, rather 
than any religious revivalism, which caused the clergy to be held in re- 
spect 49 As a matter of fact, the staunchest supporters of the Church at 
that period were the exponents of that so-called "cerebral" Catholicism, 
the "Catholics without faith," who were henceforth to dominate the 
entire TnnMTrMgt and extreme nationalist movement. Without believing 
in their other-worldly basis, these "Catholics' 9 clamored for more power 
to all authoritarian institutions. This, indeed, had been the line first 
laid down by Drumont and later endorsed by Maurras* 80 

The large majority of the Catholic clergy, deeply involved in political 
maneuvers, followed a policy of accommodation. In this, as the Dreyfus 
affair makes dear, they were conspicuously successful. Thus, when 
Victor Basch took up the cause for a retrial his house at Rennes was 
stormed under the leadership of three priests,* 1 while no less distinguished 
a figure than the Dominican Father Didon called on the students of the 
College D'Arcueil to "draw the sword, terrorize, cut off heads and run 

* GC. aemenceau, "La Croiaade," in L'lniquit* "Spain it writhing under the yoke of the 
Roman Church. Italy appears to hare succumbed. The only countries left arc Cart^fc 
Austria, already in her death-struggle, and the France of the Revolution, against which the 
papal hoits axe even now deployed." 

*CL HeoDfr o. at., p. 27. 

*C Bernanos, o. dfc, p. 152: ''Hie point cannot be luffideody repeated: the zeal bene- 
ficiaries of that movement of reaction which followed the all of the empire and the defeat 
were the clergy. Thanks to them national reaction assumed after 1878 the character of a 
religious revival." 

"On Drumont and the origin of "cerebral CarhoHdimi,* see Bemanos, op. cit., p. 127 ft 

" Cf. Henog. op, dfc. under date of January 21,1898. 


amok." 52 Similar too was the outlook of the three hundred lesser clerics 
who immortalized themselves in the "Henry Memorial," a monument 
for all time to the shocking corruption of the French people at that date. 58 
During the period of the Dreyfus crisis it was not her regular clergy, 
not her ordinary religious orders and certainly not her homines religiosi 
who influenced the political line of the Catholic Church. As far as 
Europe was concerned, her reactionary policies in France, Austria and 
Spain, as well as her support of antisemitic trends in Vienna, Paris and 
Algiers were probably an immediate consequence of Jesuit influence. 
It was the Jesuits who had always best represented, both in the written 
and spoken word, the antisemitic school of the Catholic clergy. 54 This 
is largely the consequence of their statutes according to which each 
novice must prove that he has no Jewish blood back to the fourth genera- 
tion. 55 And since the beginning of the nineteenth century the direction 
of the Church's international policy had passed into their hands. 56 

Assimilation and Antisemitism 

We have already observed how the dissolution of the state machinery 
facilitated the entry of the Rothschilds into the circles of the antisemitic 

M Cf. Lecanuet, op. cit., p. 182. 

"The Libre Parole's list of subscribers to a fund for the benefit of Madame Henry, widow 
of the Colonel who had committed suicide while in prison (see above, note 14) is one of 
the most important of the contemporary documents, since the subscribers were not content 
with furnishing cash but also took the opportunity of venting their views on the solution 
of the Jewish problem. Jews were to be torn to pieces, like Marsyas in the Greek myth. 
Reinach ought to be boiled alive. Jews should be stewed in oil, or pierced to death with 
needles; they should be "drcumtized up to the neck." One group of officers could scarcely 
wait to try out the new types of guns on the 100,000 Jews who were infesting the country. 
Among the subscribers were more than 1,000 officers, including four generals in- active service, 
and the minister of war, Mercier. There was also a large number of intellectuals including, 
strangely enough, Paul Valfty, who contributed three francs, "non sans reflexion." Even 
Jews figure in the list, among them the convert, Arthur Meyer, and Gaston Pollonius of the 

* Koch, L. S. J., in Jesuitcn-Lexikon (Paderborn 1984), article "Juden": "Unter alien 
Orden 1st die Gesellschaft Jesu also derjenige, dessen Verfassung am entschiedensten alien 
juedischen Einfluss abwehrt." 

"Originally, according to the Convention of 1595, all Christians of Jewish descent were 
excluded. A decree of 1608 stipulated ^investigations back to the fifth generation; the last 
provision of 1923 reduced this to four generations. These requirements can be waived by 
the chief of f ^^ order in individual cases. 

* Cf. Boehmer, H., Les J4$uitc$; traduction de I'attemand (Paris 1910) p. 284: "Since 
1820 , . . there has existed no such thing as independent national churches able to resist 
the Jesuit-dictated orders of the pope. The higher clergy of our day have pitched their 
tents in front of the Holy See and the Church has become what Bellannin, the great Jesuit 
controversialist, always demanded it should become, an absolute monarchy whose policies 
can be directed by the Jesuits and whose development can be determined by pressing a 


aristocracy. The fashionable set of Faubourg Saint-Germain opened its 
doors not only to a few ennobled Jews but their baptized sycophants, the 
antisemitic Jews, were also suffered to drift in. 57 Curiously enough, the 
Jews of Alsace, who like the Dreyfus family had moved to Paris following 
the cession of that territory, took an especially prominent part in this 
social climb. Their exaggerated patriotism came out most markedly in 
the way they strove to dissociate themselves from Jewish immigrants. The 
Dreyfus family belonged to that section of French Jewry which sought 
to assimilate even to the point of adopting antisemitism. 58 This adjust- 
ment to the French aristocracy had one inevitable result: the Jews tried 
to launch their sons upon the same higher military careers as were pur- 
sued by those of their new-found friends. It was here that the first cause 
of friction arose. The acceptance of the Jews into high society had been 
relatively peaceful. The upper classes, despite their dreams of a restored 
monarchy, were a politically spineless lot and did not bother themselves 
unduly either one way or the other. But when the Jews began seeking 
equality in the army, they came face to face with the determined opposi- 
tion of the Jesuits who were not prepared to tolerate the existence of 
officers immune to the influence of the confessional. 50 Moreover, they 

" Cf. demenceau, "Le spectacle du jour," in L'Iniquitii "Rothschild, friend of the entire 
antisemitic nobility ... of a piece with Arthur Meyer, who is more papist than the Pope." 

"On the Alsatian Jews, to whom Dreyfus belonged, see Foucault. Andr6, "Un nouvel 
aspect de 1'Afiaire Dreyfus," in Les Oeuvres Libres (1938) 510: "In the eyes of the Jewish 
bourgeoisie of Paris they were the incarnation of nationalist raideur . . . that attitude of 
distant disdain which the gentry affects towards its parvenu co-religionists. Their desire to 
assimilate completely to Gallic modes, to live on intimate terms with our old-established 
families, to occupy the most distinguished positions in the state, and the contempt which 
they showed for the commercial elements of Jewry, for the recently naturalized Tolaks* of 
Galicia, gave them almost the appearance of traitors against their own race. . . . The 
Dreyfuses of 1894? Why, they were antisemites!" Cf. also Marcel Proust's analysis of the 
new form of group-consciousness developed by the assimilated Jews of that generation, in 
the novel, Sodom and Gomorra, voL L 

Herzog, op. eft., under date of 1892 shows at length how the Rothschilds began to adapt 
themselves to the republic. Curiously enough the papal policy of ooalitionism, which repre- 
sents an attempt at rapprochement by the Catholic Church, dates from precisely the same year. 
It is therefore not impossible that the Rothschild line was influenced by the clergy. As for 
the loan of 500 million francs to Russia Count Mfinster pertinently observed: "Speculation 
is dead in France. . . . The capitalists can find no way of negotiating their securities . . . and 
this will contribute to the success of the loan. . . . The big Jews believe that if they make 
money they will best be able to help their small-time brethren. The result is that, though 
the French market is glutted with Russian securities, Frenchmen are still giving good francs 
for bad roubles;" Herzog, ibid. 

" Cf . "K.V.T. 1 ; in The Contemporary Review, voL badv, p. 598: "By the will of the democ- 
racy all Frenchmen are to be soldiers; by the will of the Church Catholics only are to hold 
the chief commands." 


came up against an inveterate caste-spirit, which the easy atmosphere of 
the salons had led them to forget, a caste-spirit which already strengthened 
by tradition and calling was still further fortified by uncompromising 
hostility to the Third Republic and to the civil administration. 

A modern historian has described the struggle between Jews and 
Jesuits as a "struggle between two rivals," in which the "higher Jesuit 
clergy and the Jewish plutocracy stood facing one another in the middle 
of France like two invisible lines of battle." w The description is so far 
true that the Jews found in the Jesuits their first unappeasable foes while 
the latter came promptly to realize how powerful a weapon antisemitism 
could be. This was the first attempt and the only one prior to Hitler to 
exploit "the major political concept" 61 of antisemitism on a pan-European 
scale. On the other hand, however, if it be assumed that the struggle was 
one of two equally matched "rivals 91 the description is palpably false. For 
one thing the Jews never declared war. For another the Jews sought no 
higher degree of power than was being wielded by any of the other cliques 
into which the republic had split. All they desired at the time was suffi- 
cient influence to pursue their social and business interests. They did 
not aspire to a political share in the management of the state. The only 
organized group who sought that were the Jesuits. The trial of Dreyfus 
was preceded by a number of incidents which show how resolutely and 
energetically the Jews tried to gain a place in the army and how common, 
even at that time, was the hostility towards them. Subjected ever to gross 
insult, such few Jewish officers as there were, were obliged constantly to 
fight duels while gentile comrades were unwilling to act as their seconds. 
It is, indeed, in this connection that the infamous Esterhazy first comes 

upon the scene as an exception to the rule. 62 

* Herzog, op, cit., p. 35. 

"CC. Bernanos, op. cit. f p. 151: "So. shorn of ridiculous hyperbole, antisemitism showed 
itself for what it really is: not a mere piece of crankiness, a mental quirk but a majd 
political concept" 

* See Esterhazy's letter of July, 1894 to Edmond de Rothschild, quoted by Rdnach, op. cit.. 
vol. ii, p. 53 ff,: "I did not hesitate when Captain Crimleux could find no Christian officei 
to act as his second." Cf. Reinach, T., Histoire sommaire de I'Affaire Dreyfus, p. 60 ff. See 
also Herzog, op. cit., under date of 1892 and June, 1894, where these duels are listed in detai] 
and all of Esterhazy's intermediaries named. The last occasion: was in September, 1896 
when he received 10,000 francs. This misplaced generosity was later to have disquieting 
results. When, from the comfortable security of England, Esterhazy at length made hii 
revelations and thereby compelled a revision of the case the antisemitic press naturally sug 
gcsted that he had been paid by the Jews for his self-condemnation. The idea is still ad 
vanced as a major argument in favor of Dreyfus 1 guilt. 


It has always remained somewhat obscure whether the arrest and con- 
demnation of Dreyfus was simply a judicial error which just happened 
by chance to light up a political conflagration or whether the general 
staff deliberately planted the forged bordereau for the express purpose of 
at last branding a Jew as a traitor. In favor of the latter hypothesis lies 
the fact that Dreyfus was the first Jew to find a post on the general staff 
and under existing conditions this could not but have aroused not merely 
annoyance but positive fury and consternation. In any case anti-Jewish 
hatred was unleashed even before the verdict was returned. Contrary 
to custom, which demanded the withholding of all information in a spy- 
case still sub iudice, officers of the general staff cheerfully supplied the 
Libre. Parole with details of the case and the name of the accused. Ap- 
parently they feared lest Jewish influence with the government lead to a 
suppression of the trial and a stifling o the whole business. Some show 
of plausibility was afforded these fears by the fact that certain circles of 
French Jewry were known at the time to be seriously concerned about 
the precarious situation of Jewish officers. 

It must also be remembered that the Panama scandal was then fresh 
in the public mind and that following the Rothschild loan to Russia 
distrust of the Jews had grown considerably. War Minister Mercier was 
not only lauded by the bourgeois press at every fresh turn of the trial but 
even Jaurs' paper, the organ of the socialists, congratulated him on "hav- 
ing opposed the formidable pressure of corrupt politicians and high 
finance." 83 Characteristically this encomium drew from the Libre Parole 
the unstinted commendation, "Bravo, Jaur&s!" Two years later, when 
Bernard Lazare published his first pamphlet on the miscarriage of justice, 
Jaurs' paper carefully refrained from discussing its contents but charged 
the socialist author with being an admirer of Rothschild and probably a 
paid agent. 64 Similarly, as late as 1897, when the fight for Dreyfus' re- 
instatement had already begun, Jaurfes could see nothing in it but the 
conflict of two bourgeois groups, the opportunists and the clerics. Finally, 
even after the Rennes retrial Wilhelm Liebknecht, the German social 
democrat, still believed in the guilt of Dreyfus because he could not 
imagine that a member of the upper classes could ever be the victim 
of a false verdict. 65 

68 Cf. Reinach, J., op. cit., vol. i, p. 471. 
" Cf. Herzog, op. cit., p. 212. 

"Cf. Kohler, Max J., "Some New Light on the Dreyfus Case," in Studies in Jewish 
Bibliography and Related Subjects in Memory of A. S. Freidus (New York 1929) p. 293-318. 


The skepticism of the radical and socialist press, strongly colored as it 
was by anti-Jewish feelings, was strengthened by the bizarre tactics of the 
Dreyfus family in its attempt to secure a retrial. In trying to save an 
innocent man they employed the very methods usually adopted in the 
case of a guilty one. They stood in mortal terror of publicity and relied 
exclusively on back-door maneuvers. 66 They were lavish with their cash 67 
and treated Lazare, one of their most valuable helpers and one of the 
greatest figures, as if he were their paid agent. 68 Cl&nenceau, Zola, 
Picquard and Labori to name but the more active of the Dreyfusards 
could in the end only save their good names by dissociating their efforts, 
with greater or less fuss and publicity, from the more concrete aspects of 
the issue. 69 

There was only one basis on which Dreyfus could or should have been 
saved. The intrigues of a corrupt Parliament, the dry rot of a collapsing 
society and the clergy's lust for power should have been met squarely with 
the stern Jacobin concept of the nation based upon human rights that 
republican view of communal life which asserts that (in the words of 
Cl&nenceau) by infringing on the rights of one you infringe on the rights 
of all. To rely on Parliament or on society was to lose the fight before 
beginning it. For one thing the resources of Jewry were in no way 
superior to those of the rich Catholic bourgeoisie; for another all of the 
higher strata of society, from the clerical and aristocratic families of 
Faubourg St.-Germain to the anti-clerical and radical petty bourgeoisie, 

"The Dreyfus family, for instance, summarily rejected the suggestion of Arthur Levy, 
the writer, and Lvy-Bruhl, the scholar, jthat they should circulate a petition of protest among 
all leading figures of public life. Instead they embarked on a series of personal approaches 
to any one or another politician with whom they happened to have contact; cf. Dutrait- 
Crozon, op. cit. f p. 51. See also Foucault, op. cit., p. 309: "At this distance, one may wonder 
at the fact that the French Jews, instead of working on the papers secretly did not give 
adequate and open expression to then- indignation." 

97 Cf. Herzog, op. cit. f under date of December, 1894 and January, 1898. See also Charensol, 
op. cit., p. 79. 

68 Cf. Pe"guy, Charles, "Le Portrait de Bernard Lazare," in Cahiers de la quinzaine, series 
xi, no. 2 (1910) . 

00 Labori 's withdrawal, after Dreyfus' family had hurriedly withdrawn the brief from him 
while the Rennes tribunal was still sitting, caused a major scandal. An exhaustive, if greatly 
exaggerated, account will be found in Frank, op. cit., p. 432. Labori's own statement, which 
speaks eloquently for his nobility of character, appeared in La Grande Revue (February, 1900) 
357. After what had happened to his counsel and friend Zola at once broke relations 
with the Dreyfus family. As for Picquard, the Echo de Paris (November 30, 1901) reported 
that after Rennes he had nothing more to do with the Dreyfuses. Clemenceau in face of the 
fact that the whole of France, or even the whole world, grasped the real meaning of the 
tiials better than the accused or his family, was more inclined to take the incident as humor- , 
ous; cf. Weil. op. cit., p. 807-8, 


were only too willing to see the Jews formally removed from the body 
politic. In this way, they reckoned, they would be able to purge them- 
selves of possible taint. The loss of Jewish social and commercial contacts 
seemed to them a price well worth paying. Similarly, as the utterances 
of Jaurs indicate, the affair was regarded by Parliament as a golden 
opportunity for rehabilitating, or rather regaining, its time-honored repu- 
tation for incorruptibility. Last, but by no means least, in the counte- 
nancing of such slogans as "Death to the Jews" or "France for the French" 
there had been discovered what was almost a magical formula for 
reconciling the masses to the existent state of government and society. 

The People and the Mob 

If it be the common error of our time to imagine that propaganda can 
achieve all things and that a man can be talked into anything provided the 
talking is sufficiently loud and cunning, so in that period it was commonly 
believed that the "voice of the people was the voice of God," and that the 
task of a leader was, as Cl&nenceau so scornfully expressed it, 70 to follow 
that voice shrewdly. Both views go back to the same fundamental error 
of regarding the mob as identical with rather than as a caricature of the 

The mob is primarily a group in which the residue of all classes are 
represented. This makes it so easy to mistake the mob for the people, 
which also comprises all strata of society. While the people in all great 
revolutions fights for true representation, the mob always will shout for 
the "strong man," the "great leader." Fqr the mob hates society from 
which it is excluded, as well as Parliament where it is not represented. 
Plebiscites, therefore, with which modern mob-leaders have obtained 
such excellent results, are an old concept of politicians who rely upon the 
mob. One of the more intelligent leaders of the anti-Dreyfusards, 
D6roulde already clamored for a "Republic through plebiscite." 

High society and politicians of the Third Republic had produced the 
French mob in a series of scandals and public frauds. They now felt 
a tender sentiment of parental familiarity towards their off-spring, a 
feeling mixed with admiration and fear. 71 The mob, they knew, was 

70 Cf. Cl&nenceau in L'Iniquitt (February 2, 1898) . On the futility of trying to win the 
workers with the antisemitic slogans and especially on the attempts of L^on Daudet, see the 
royalist writer Dimier, Vingt ans d 'Action Franfaise (Paris 1926) , 

71 Very characteristic in this respect are the various depictions of contemporary society 
in Reinach, op. cit. f vol. i, p. 233 ff,; vol. iii, p. 141: "Society hostesses fell in step with 


flesh of their flesh and blood of their blood. Even a Jewish historian of 
the time, although he had seen with his own eyes that Jews are no longer 
safe when the mob rules the street, speaks with secret admiration of the 
"great collective movement." 72 This shows only how deeply most Jews 
were rooted in a society which was attempting to eliminate them. 

If Bernanos, with reference to the Dreyfus affair, describes anti- 
semitism as a major political concept, he is undoubtedly right with 
respect to the mob. It had been tried out previously in Berlin and 
Vienna, in the Ahlwardt movement and the Lueger campaign, but 
nowhere was its efficacy more clearly proved than in France. There can 
be no doubt that in the eyes of the mob the Jews came to serve as an 
object-lesson of all the things they detested. If they hated society they 
could point to the way in which the Jews were tolerated within it; and if 
they hated the government they could point to the way in which the Jews 
had been protected by or were identifiable with the state. While it is a 
mistake to assume that the mob preys only on Jews, the Jews must be 
accorded first place among its favorite victims. 

Excluded as it is from society and political representation the mob 
turns of necessity to extra-parliamentary action. Moreover, it is inclined 
to seek the real forces of political life in those movements and influences 
which are hidden from view and work behind the scenes. There can be 
no doubt that during the nineteenth century Jewry fell into this category 
as did Freemasonry (especially in Latin countries) and the Jesuits. 78 It is, 
of course, utterly untrue that any of these groups really constituted a 
secret society bent on dominating the world by means of a gigantic con- 
spiracy. Nevertheless, it is true that their influence, however overt it may 
have beeii, was exerted beyond the formal realm of politics, operating on 
a large scale in lobbies, lodges and the confessional. Ever since the 

Guerin. Their language (which scarcely outran their thoughts) would have struck horror 
in the Amazon of Damohey . . /' Of special interest in this connection is an article by 
Chevrillon, Andre, "Huit Jours a Rennes," in La Grande Revue (February 1900) . He relates, 
inter alia, the following revealing incident: "A physician speaking to some friends of mine 
about Dreyfus, chanced to remark, 'I'd like to torture him/ 'And I wish/ rejoined one of 
the ladies, 'that he were innocent. Then he'd suffer more/ " These are side-remarks. The 
standard-work for this relationship between mob and high society is of course the Henry 
Memorial. See note 53. 

w Reinach, op. tit., i, p. 233. 

78 A study of European superstition would probably show that Jews became objects of this 
typically nineteenth-century brand of superstition fairly late. They were preceded by the 
Rosicrucians, Templars, Jesuits and Freemasons. The treatment of nineteenth-century 
history suffers greatly from the lack of such a study. 


French Revolution these three groups have shared the doubtful honor of 
being, in the eyes of the European mob, the pivotal point of world politics. 
During the Dreyfus crisis each was able to exploit this popular notion by 
hurling at the other charges of conspiring to world domination. The 
slogan, "secret Judah," is due, no doubt, to the inventiveness of certain 
Jesuits, who chose to see in the first Zionist Congress (1897) the core of 
a Jewish world conspiracy. 74 Similarly, the concept of "secret Rome" is 
due to the anti-clerical Freemasons and perhaps to the indiscreet slanders 
of some Jews as well. 

The fickleness of the mob is proverbial, as the opponents of Dreyfus 
were to learn to their sorrow when, in 1899, the wind changed and the 
small group of true republicans, headed by Clfirnenceau, suddenly realized, 
with mixed feelings, that a section of the mob had rallied to their side. 75 
In some eyes the two parties to the great controversy seemed now like "two 
rival gangs of charlatans squabbling for recognition by the rabble" 76 while 
actually the voice of the Jacobin Cl&nenceau had succeeded in bringing 
back one part of the French people to their greatest tradition. Thus the 
great scholar, Emile Duclaux, could write: "In this drama played before 
a whole people and so worked up by the press that the whole nation 
ultimately took part in it, we see the chorus and anti-chorus of the ancient 
tragedy railing at each other. The scene is France and the theater is the 

Led by the Jesuits and aided by the mob the army at last stepped into 
the fray confident of victory. Counter-attack from the civil power had 
been effectively forestalled. The antisemitic press had stopped men's 
mouths by publishing Reinach's lists of the deputies involved in the 
Panama scandal. 77 Everything suggested an effortless triumph. The 
society and the politicians of the Third Republic, its scandals and affairs 
had created a new class of ddass&; they could not be expected to fight 
against their own product; on the contrary, they were to adopt the lan- 
guage and outlook of the mob. Through the army the Jesuits would 

*See "H caso Dreyfus," in ttvtiti, Cattolica (February 5, ! 

w Cf. du Card, Jean Barrois, p. 272 ff., and Halevy, Daniel, in Cahim de la quinxainc, 
series xi, cahier 10 (Paris 1910). 

19 Cf. Sorel, Geoxges, La Revolution dreyftuienne (Paris 1911) p. 70-71. 

17 To what extent the hands of members of parliament were tied is shown by the case of 
Scheurer-Kestner, one of their better elements and vice-president of the senate. No sooner 
had he entered his protest against the trial than Libre Parole proclaimed the fact that his 
son-in-law had been involved in the Panama scandal. See Herzog, op. cit. t under date of 
November, 1897. 


gain the upper hand over the corrupt civil power and the way would thus 
be paved for a bloodless coup d'etat. 

Dreyfusards and Anti-Dreyfusards 

So long as there was only the Dreyfus family trying with its bizarre 
methods to rescue its kinsman from Devil's Island and so long as there 
were only Jews concerned about their standing in the antisemitic salons 
and the still more antisemitic army, everything certainly pointed that way. 
Obviously there was no reason to expect an attack on the army or on 
society from that quarter. Was not the sole desire of the Jews to continue 
to be accepted in society and suffered in the armed forces? No one in 
military or civilian circles needed to give himself a sleepless night on their 
account. 78 It was disconcerting, therefore, when it transpired that in the 
intelligence office of the general staff there sat a high officer, who, though 
possessed of a good Catholic background, excellent military prospects 
and the "proper" degree of antipathy toward the Jews, had yet not 
adopted the principle that the end justifies the means. Such a man, 
utterly divorced from social clannishness or professional ambition, was 
Picquard, and of this simple, quiet, politically disinterested spirit the 
general staff was soon to have its fill. Picquard was no hero and certainly 
no martyr. He was simply that common type of citizen with an average 
interest in public affairs who in the hour of danger (though not a minute 
earlier) stands up to defend his country in the same unquestioning wa-y 
as he discharges his daily duties. 79 Nevertheless, the cause only grew seri- 
ous when, after several delays and hesitations, Cl&menceau at last became 
convinced that Dreyfus was innocent and the republic in danger. At 
the beginning of the struggle only a handful of well-known writers and 
scholars rallied to the cause, Zola, Anatole France, E. Duclaux, Gabrie] 
Monod, the historian, and Lucien Herr, librarian of the ficole Nonnale, 
To these must be added the small and then insignificant circle of young 
intellectuals who were later to make history in the Cahiers de h 

78 Cf, Brogan, op. cit., book vii, ch. i: "The desire to let the matter rest was not uncommor 
among French Jews, especially among the richer French Jews." 

"Immediately after he had made his discoveries Picquard was banished to a dangerotu 
post in Tunis. Thereupon he made his wiU, exposed the whole business and deposited i 
copy of the document with his lawyer. A few months later, when it was discovered thai 
he was still alive, a deluge of mysterious letters came pouring in, compromising him anc 
accusing him of complicity with the "traitor" Dreyfus. He was treated like a gangster wh< 
had threatened to "squeal." When all this proved of no avail, he was arrested, drummec 
out of the army and divested of his decorations, all of which he endured with quie 


quinzaine That, however, was the full measure of his allies. There 
was no political group, not a single politician of repute, ready to stand at 
his side. The greatness of Cl&nenceau's approach lies in the fact that it 
was not directed against a particular miscarriage of justice, but was based 
upon such "abstract" ideas as justice, liberty and civic virtue. It was 
based, in short, on those very concepts which had formed the staple of 
old-time Jacobin patriotism and against which much mud and abuse had 
already been hurled. As time wore on and C16menceau continued, un- 
moved by threats and disappointments, to enunciate the same truths and 
to embody them into demands, the more "concrete" nationalists lost 
ground. Followers of men like Barrfes, who had accused the supporters 
of Dreyfus of losing themselves in a "welter of metaphysics," came to 
realize that the abstractions of the "Tiger" were actually nearer to political 
realties than the limited intelligence of ruined businessmen or the barren 
traditionalism of fatalistic intellectuals. 81 

Although antisemitism had undoubtedly gained ground during the 
three years following the arrest of Dreyfus, before the opening of 
Cl&nenceau's campaign, and although the anti- Jewish press had attained 
a circulation comparable to the chief papers', the streets had remained 
quiet. It was only when Cl&nenceau began his articles in UAurore, 
when Zola published his ]' Accuse and when the Rennes tribunal set off 
the dismal succession of trials and retrials that the mob stirred into action. 
Every stroke of the Dreyfusards (who were known to be a small minority) 
was followed by a more or less violent disturbance on the streets. 82 The 
organization of the mob by the general staff was remarkable. The trail 

80 To this group belonged the youthful Remain Roll and, Suarez, Georges Sorel, Daniel 
HaleVy and Bernard Lazare. The most famous of them was Charles P^guy. 

81 Cf. Barres, M., Scenes et doctrines du nationalisms (Paris 1899 and 1925) p. 12: "I can 
live only after the manner of my dead ancestors. They and my country demand a certain 
activity/' and "Nationalism is the acceptance of a certain determinism" (p. 8) . The plight 
of the intellectuals is illustrated by Simon's (op. cit., p. 54-55) priceless story of how Charles 
Maurras had "the honor and pleasure," after the fall of France, of falling in during his 
flight with a female astrologer who interpreted to him the political meaning of recent 
events, advising him to collaborate with the Nazis. 

88 The faculty rooms of Rennes University were wrecked after five professors had declared 
themselves in favor of a retrial. After the appearance of Zola's first article Royalist students 
demonstrated outside the offices of Figaro, after which the paper desisted from further 
articles of the same type. The publisher of the pro-Dreyfus La Bataille was beaten up on 
the street. The judges of the Court of Cassation, which finally set aside the verdict of 1894, 
reported unanimously that they had been threatened with "unlawful assault." Examples 
could be multiplied. 


leads straight from the army to the Libre Parole which, directly or in- 
directly, through its articles or the personal intervention of its editors, 
mobilized students, monarchists, adventurers and plain gangsters and 
pushed them into the streets. Did Zola utter a word, at once his windows 
were stoned. Did Scheurer-Kestner write to the colonial minister, he was 
at once beaten up on the streets while the papers made scurrilous attacks 
on his private life. And all accounts agree that if Zola, when once 
charged, had been acquitted he would never have left the courtroom alive. 

The cry, "Death to the Jews," swept the country. In Lyons, Rennes, 
Nantes, Tours, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrant and Marseilleseverywhere, 
in fact antisemitic riots broke out and were invariably traceable to the 
same source. Popular indignation broke out everywhere on the same 
day and at precisely the same hour. 83 Under the leadership of Gu&in 
the mob took on a military complexion. Antisemitic shock troops ap- 
peared on the streets and made certain that every pro-Dreyfus meeting 
should end in bloodshed. The complicity of the police was everywhere 
patent. 84 

The most modern figure on the side of the anti-Dreyfusards was prob- 
ably Jules Gu&in. Ruined in business, he had begun his political career 
as a police stool pigeon. At that time he had been, of course, quite un- 
conscious of the heights to which this humble office was ultimately to lead 
his principal. Nevertheless, it had given him a thorough mastery of that 
discipline and flair for organization which invariably marks the under- 
world. This he was later able to divert into political channels, becoming 
the founder and head of the Ligue Antis&nite. In him high society found 
its first criminal hero. In its adulation of Gu&in bourgeois society 
showed clearly that in its code of morals and ethics it had broken for 
good with its own standards. Behind the Ligue stood two members of 
the aristocracy, the Duke of Orleans and the Marquis de Morfes. The 
latter had lost his fortune in America and became famous for organizing 
the butchers of Paris into a manslaughtering brigade. 

Most eloquent of these modern tendencies was the farcical siege of 

88 Antisemitic demonstrations took place, on January 18, 1898, at Bordeaux, Marseille, 
Clermont-Ferrant, Nantes, Rouen and Lyon. On the following day student riots broke out 
in Rouen, Toulouse and Nantes. 

"The crudest instance was that of the police prefect of Rennes, who advised Professor 
Victor Basch, when the latter's house was stormed by a mob 2,000 strong, that he ought to 
hand in his resignation, as he could no longer guarantee his safety. 


the so-called Fort Chabrol. It was here, in this first of "Brown Houses/* 
that the cream of the Ligue Antis&nite foregathered when the police 
decided at last to arrest their leader. The installations were the acme of 
technical perfection. "The windows were protected by iron shutters. 
There was a system of electric bells and telephones from cellar to roof. 
Five yards or so behind the massive entrance, itself always kept locked and 
bolted, there was a tall grill of cast iron. On the right, between the grill 
and the main entrance was a small door, likewise iron-plated, behind 
which sentries, handpicked from the butcher legions, mounted guard day 
and night." 85 Max R6gis, instigator of the Algerian pogroms, is another 
who strikes a modern note. It was this youthful Rgis who once called 
upon a cheering Paris rabble to "water the tree of freedom with the blood 
of the Jews." Rgis represented that section of the movement which 
hoped to achieve power by legal and parliamentary methods. In ac- 
cordance with this program he had himself elected mayor of Algiers and 
utilized his office to unleash the pogroms in which several Jews were killed, 
Jewish women criminally assaulted and some 158 Jewish-owned stores 
looted. 8 * It was to him also that the polished and cultured Edouard 
Drumont, that most famous French antisemite, owed his seat in parlia- 

What was new in all this was not the activity of the mob; for that 
there were abundant precedents. What was new and surprising at the 
time though all too familiar to us was the organization of the mob and 
the hero-worship enjoyed by its leaders. The mob became the direct 
agent of that "concrete" nationalism espoused by Barr&s, Maurras and 
Daudet, who together formed what was undoubtedly a kind of lite of the 
younger intellectuals. These men, who despised the people and who had 
themselves but recently emerged from a ruinous and decadent cult of 
estheticism, saw in the mob a living expression of virile and primitive 
"strength/ 1 It was they and their theories which first identified the mob 
with the people and converted its leaders into national heroes. 87 It was 
their philosophy of pessimism (of which Baudelaire had been the greatest 

85 Cf. Bernanos, op. cit., p. 346. 

86 The figures are those of Lecanuet, op. cit., p. 160 ff. 

87 For these theories see especially Maurras, Charles, Au Signe de Flore; souvenirs de la 
vie politique r Affaire Dreyfus, la fondation de I' Action Francaise (Paris 1931) ; Banes, M., 
Scenes et doctrines du nationalisme; Daudet, Lon, Panorama de la Troisieme Rpublique 

(Paris 1936) . 


forerunner) that paved the way for the ultimate collapse of the European 

Even Cl&nenceau was not immune from the temptation to identify 
the mob with the people. 88 What made him especially prone to this 
error was the consistently ambiguous attitude of the Labor party toward 
the question of "abstract" justice. No party, including the socialists, was 
yet ready to make an issue of justice per se. s * The socialists stood for the 
interests of the workers, as the opportunists for those of the liberal 
bourgeoisie, as the coalitionists for those of the Catholic higher classes 
and the radicals for those of the anti-clerical petty bourgeoisie. The 
socialists had the great advantage of speaking in the name of a homo- 
geneous and united class. Unlike the bourgeois parties they did not 
represent a society which had split into innumerable cliques and cabals. 
Nevertheless, they were concerned primarily and essentially with the 
interests of their class. They were not troubled by any higher obligation 
towards human solidarity and had no conception of what communal 
life really meant. Typical of their attitude was the observation of Jules 
Guesde, the counterpart of Jaur&s in the French party, that "law and 
honor are mere words." 90 

The nihilism which characterized the nationalists was no monopoly 
of the anti-Dreyfusards. On the contrary, a large proportion of the social- 
ists and many of those who championed Dreyfus, like Guesde, spoke the 
same language. If the Catholic La Croix remarked that "it is no longer a 
question whether Dreyfus is innocent or guilty but only of who will win, 
the friends of the army or its foes," the corresponding sentiment might 
well have been voiced, mutatis mutandis, by the partisans of Dreyfus. 91 
Not only the mob but a considerable section of the French people de- 
dared itself as, at best, quite uninterested whether one group of the 
population was or was not to be excluded from the law. 92 

As soon as the mob began its campaign of terror against the partisans 
of Dreyfus, it found the path open before it. As Ctemenceau attests, 

88 This comes out most clearly in his preface to Cnntre la justice. 

89 Cf. Cl&nenceau, "A la derive," in L'Iniquitt: "There is no party ready to stand, come 
what may, for justice, the sole unbreakable bond of union between civilized men." 

"Cf. Herzog, op, cit., p. 217. 

91 It was precisely this which so greatly disillusioned the champions of Dreyfus, especially 
the circle around Charles Pguy, This disturbing similarity between Dreyfusards and anti- 
Dreyfusards is the subject-matter of the instructive novel by du Card, Jean Barrois. 

M Cf. Ctemenceau, "Apres 1'attaque," in L'lniqvltt. 


the workers of Paris cared little for the whole affair. If the various ele- 
ments of the bourgeoisie squabbled among themselves, that, they thought, 
scarcely affected their own interests. 

With the open consent of the people [wrote Ctemenceau] they have pro- 
claimed before the world the failure of their "democracy." Through them 
a sovereign people shows itself thrust from its throne of justice, shorn of its 
infallible majesty. For there is no denying that this evil has befallen us with 
the full complicity of the people itself. . . . The people is not God. Anyone 
could have foreseen that this new divinity would some day topple to his 
fall. A collective tyrant, spread over the length and breadth of the land, is 
no more acceptable than a single tyrant ensconced upon his throne. 93 
At last Clemenceau convinced Jaurs that an infringement of the rights 
of one man was an infringement of the rights of all. But in this he was 
successful only because the wrongdoers happened to be the inveterate 
enemies of the people ever since the Revolution, namely, the aristocracy 
and the clergy. It was against the rich and the clergy, not for the republic, 
not for justice and freedom that the workers finally took to the streets. 
True, both the speeches of Jaur&s and the articles of Clemenceau are 
redolent of the old revolutionary passion for human rights. True also 
that this passion was strong enough to rally the people to the struggle, 
but first they had to be convinced that not only justice and the honor of 
the republic were at stake but their own class "interests." As it was, 
a large number of socialists, both inside and outside the country, still 
regarded it as a mistake to meddle (as they put it) in the internecine 
quarrels of the bourgeoisie or to bother about saving the republic. 

The first to wean the workers, at least partially, from this mood of 
indifference was that great lover of the people, Emile Zola. In his famous 
indictment of the republic he was also, however, the first to deflect from 
the presentation of precise political facts and to yield to the passions 
of the mob by raising the bogy of "secret Rome. 11 This was a note which 
Cl&nenceau adopted but reluctantly, though Jaurfes with enthusiasm. 
The real achievement of Zola, which is hard to detect from his pamphlets, 
consists in the resolute and dauntless courage with which this man, whose 
life and works had exalted the people to a point "bordering on idolatry," 
stood up to challenge, combat and finally conquer the masses, in whom, 
like Clemenceau, he could all the time scarcely distinguish the mob from 
the people. "Men have been found to resist the most powerful monarchs 

" Cf. Cle'menceau's preface to Contre la justice. 


and to refuse to bow down before them, but few indeed have been found 
to resist the crowd, to stand up alone before misguided masses* to faoc 
their implacable frenzy without weapons and with folded arms to dare 
a no when a yes is demanded. Such a m^n was Zolal" 84 

Scarcely had ^accuse appeared than the Paris socialists held their first 
meeting and passed a resolution calling for a revision of the Dreyfus case. 
Yet a bare five days later some thirty-two socialist officials promptly came 
out with a declaration that the fate of Dreyfus, "the class enemy/ 9 was 
no concern of theirs. Behind this declaration stood large elements of the 
party in Paris. Although a split in its ranks continued throughout the 
affair, the party numbered enough Dreyfusards to prevent the Ligue 
Antis&nite from thenceforth controlling the streets. A socialist meeting 
even branded antisemitism as "a new form of reaction," Yet a few months 
later when the parliamentary elections took place, Jaurfes was not returned 
and shortly afterwards, when Cavaignac, the minister of war, treated the 
Chamber to a speech attacking Dreyfus and commending the army as 
indispensable, the delegates resolved, with only two dissenting votes, to 
placard the walls of Paris with the text of that address. Similarly, when 
the great Paris strike broke out in October of the same year, Miinster, 
the German ambassador, was able reliably and confidentially to inform 
Berlin that "as far as the broad masses are concerned, this is in no sense 
a political issue. The workers are simply out for higher wages and these 
they are bound to get in the end. As for the Dreyfus case, they have never 
bothered their heads about it."* 8 

Who then, in broad terms, were the supporters of Dreyfus? Who were 
the 300,000 Frenchmen who so eagerly devoured Zola's ]* Accuse and who 
followed religiously the editorials of Qmenceau? Who were the men 
who finally succeeded in splitting every class, nay every family in France 
into opposing factions over the Dreyfus issue? The answer is that they 
formed no party or homogeneous group. Admittedly they were recruited 
more from the lower than from the upper classes as they comprised, char- 
acteristically enough, more physicians than lawyers or civil servants. By 
and large, however, they were a mixture of diverse elements: men as far 
apart as Zola and Piguy or Jaurts and Picquard, men who on the morrow 
would part company and go their several ways. 'They come from political 

"CUmenceau, in a speech before the Senate several yean later; cf. Weil, op. cit, p. 112-18. 
"See Henog, op. dt v under date of October 10, 1898. 


parties and religious communities who have nothing in common, who 
are even in conflict with each other. . . . Those men do not know each 
other. They have fought and on occasion will fight again. Do not de- 
ceive yourselves; those are the 'flite' of the French democracy." 96 

Had Cl&nenceau possessed enough self-confidence at that time to con- 
sider only those who heeded him the true people of France, he would not 
have fallen piey to that fatal pride which marked the rest of his career. 
Out of his experiences during the Dreyfus affair grew his despair of the 
people, his contempt for men, finally his belief that he and he alone 
would be able to save the republic. He could never stoop to play the 
claque to the antics of the mob. Therefore, once he began to identify 
the mob with the people, he did indeed cut the ground from under his 
feet and forced himself into that grim aloofness which thereafter dis- 
tinguished him. 

The disunity of the French people was apparent in each family. 
Characteristically enough, it found political expression only in the ranks 
of the Labor party. All others, as well as all parliamentary groups, were 
at the beginning of the campaign for a retrial solidly against Dreyfus. 
All that this means, however, is that the bourgeois parties no longer 
represented the true feelings of the electorate, for that same disunity 
which was so patent in the case of the socialists in fact obtained among 
almost all sections of the populace. Everywhere existed a minority who 
took up Cl&nenceau's plea for justice. It was this heterogeneous minority 
who were the Dreyfusards. Their fight against the army and the corrupt 
complicity of the republic which backed it was the dominating factor in 
French internal politics from the end of 1897 until the opening of the 
exposition in 1900. It also exerted an appreciable influence on the 
foreign policy of the nation. Nevertheless, this entire struggle, which 
was to result eventually in at least a partial triumph, took place excln 
sively outside of Parliament. In that so-called representative assembly, 
comprising as it did a full 600 delegates drawn from every shade and 
color both of labor and of the bourgeoisie, there were in 1898 but two 
supporters of Dreyfus and one of them, Jaurs, was not re-elected. 

The disturbing thing about the Dreyfus affair is that it was not only 
the mob which had to work along extra-parliamentary lines. The entire 
minority, fighting as it was for Parliament, democracy and the republic, 

90 Gf. "K.V.TV in The Contemporary Review vol. Ixxiv. p. 608. 


was likewise constrained to wage its battle outside the Chamber. The 
only difference between the two elements was that while the one used 
the streets, the other resorted to the press and law court. In other words, 
the whole of the political life of France during the Dreyfus crisis was 
carried on outside Parliament. Nor do the several parliamentary votes 
in favor of the army and against a retrial in any way invalidate this 
conclusion. Although usually regarded as expressing a general anti- 
Dreyfus sentiment, it is significant to remember that when parliamentary 
feeling began to veer, shortly before the opening of the Paris Exposition, 
Minister of War Gallifet was able to declare truthfully that this in no 
wise represented the mood of the country. 97 On the other hand the vote 
against a retrial must not be construed as an indorsement of the coup 
d'6tat policy which the Jesuits and certain radical antisemites were trying 
to introduce with the help of the army, 08 Rather was it due to plain 
resistance against any change in the status quo. As a matter of fact, an 
equally overwhelming majority of the Chamber would have rejected a 
military-clerical dictatorship. 

Those members of Parliament who had learned to regard politics as 
the professional representation of vested interests were naturally anxious 
to preserve that state of affairs upon which their "calling" and their 
profits depended. The Dreyfus case revealed, moreover, that the people 
likewise desired its representatives to look after its own special interests 
rather than to function as statesmen. It was distinctly unpopular to 
mention the case in election propaganda. Had this been due solely to 
antisemitism the situation of the Dreyfusards would certainly have been 
hopeless. In point of fact, during the elections they already enjoyed 
considerable support among the working class. Nevertheless even those 
who sided with Dreyfus did not care to see this political question dragged 
into the elections. It was, indeed, because he insisted on making it the 
pivot of his campaign that Jaurfes lost his seat. 

97 Gallifet, minister of war, wrote to Waldeck: "Let us not forget that the great majority 
of people in France are antisemitic. Our position would be, therefore, that on the one side 
we would have the entire army and the majority of Frenchmen, not to speak of the civil 
service and the senators; . . /' cf. Reinach, J,, op, cit., vol. v, p. 579. 

18 The best-known of such attempts is that of D&oulede who sought, while attending the 
funeral of President Paul Faure, in February, 1899, to incite General Roget to mutiny. The 
German ambassadors and charges d'affaires in Paris reported such attempts every few months. 
The situation is well summed up by Barres, op. cit. t p. 4: "In Rennes we have found our 
battlefield. All we need is soldiers or, more precisely, generals or, still more precisely, a 
general." Only that this general was, precisely, non-existent. 


IE CWmenceau and the Dreyfusards succeeded in winning over large 
sections of all classes to the demand for a retrial, the Catholics, convinced 
of their cause, remained unmoved. 89 What the Jesuits did in steering the 
aristocracy and the general staff, was done for the middle and lower classes 
by the Assumptionists whose organ, La Croix, enjoyed the largest circula- 
tion of all Catholic journals in France. 100 Both centered their tactics in 
agitation against the Jews. Both represented themselves as defenders of 
the army and the commonweal against the machinations of "international 
Jewry." More striking, however, than the attitude of the Catholics in 
Fiance was the fact that the press of their Church throughout the world 
was solidly against Dreyfus. As the case progressed, it became increasingly 
dear that the agitation against the Jews in Fiance followed an interna- 
tional line. 101 Catholic politicians were among the first to realize that 
latter-day power politics must be based on the interplay of colonial 
ambitions. They were therefore the first to link antisemitism to im- 
perialism, declaring that the Jews were agents of England and thereby 
identifying antagonism towards them with Anglophobia. 108 The Dreyfus 
case, in which Jews were the central figures, thus afforded them a welcome 
opportunity to play their game. If England had taken Egypt from the 
French the Jews were to blame, 108 while the movement for an Anglo- 
American alliance was due, of course, to "Rothschild imperialism." 104 
That the Catholic game was not confined to Fiance became abundantly 
dear once the curtain was rung down on that particular scene. At the 
dose of 1899, when Dreyfus had been pardoned and when French public 
opinion had veered round through fear of a projected boycott of the 
Exposition, it needed but an interview with Pope Leo XIII to stop the 

m Ct TLV;iV /.&, p. 597: "Among them there ii no divergence of opinion. . . . Whence 
oomei ffrfr unanimity of the dericaU? In the fint place, it ii due to the Inflff^re of the 
pros. . . . All theas joumalliti marched and are still marching at the word of crmuntnd of 
their anperion." 

"Brogan goei so far ts to blame the Airanptionists to the entire clerical agitation. 

"Hrai the Gfeftft Cdttottc* (February 5> 1808) dedared that Jews mutt be occluded 
from die nation not only in France but alao in Germany, Auitiia and Italy. 

3-8 The fattiyi fhimina in tfrff fEqT| flnii veiy pTohahly from T-oiff.dfliB, where flug Congo** 
Nfle minion of 1896-1898 was can-ring some degree of disquietude;" thus Maurras in Action 
Fnnffdt* (July 14, 1955) . The Catholic pros of London defended the Jesuits; see "The 
J<aiiitiJmdthcI)reyfuiCa^ N lnr/wWont/j,ToLx^ (1899). 

**Cwm Cmttolic* (February 5, 1898). 

**$ee tf*g particularly ^*y flT Ttctnrfflttfi article of McDennott Rev. Ccutgft Cj&P M "Mfc 
GhamberUnli Foreign Policy and the Dreyfut Case," in die American monthly Cttholic 
World, foL hcvti (September 1898). 


spread of antisemitism through the world. 105 Even in the United States, 
where championship of Dreyfus was particularly enthusiastic among the 
non-Catholics, it was possible to detect in the Catholic press after 1897 
a marked resurgence of antisemitic feeling which, however, subsided 
overnight following the interview with Leo XIII. 106 The "grand strategy" 
of using antisemitism as an instrument of Catholicism had proved 

The Jews and the Dreyfusards 

The case of the unfortunate Captain Dreyfus had shown the world 
that in every Jewish nobleman, multimillionaire and Jewish chauvinist 
there still remained something of the old-time pariah, who has no country, 
for whom human rights do not exist and whom society would gladly 
exclude from its privileges. There was no one, however, who found it 
more difficult to grasp this fact than the emancipated Jews themselves. 
"It isn't enough for them," wrote Bernard Lazare, "to reject any solidarity 
with their foreignborn brethren; they have also to go charging them 
with all the evils which their own cowardice engenders. They are not 
content with being more jingoist than the native Frenchmen; like all 
emancipated Jews everywhere, they have also of their own volition broken 
all ties of solidarity. Indeed, they go so far that for the three dozen or 
so men in France who are ready to defend one of their martyred brethren 
you can find some thousands ready to stand guard over Devil's Island, 
alongside the most rabid patriots of the country." 101 Just because they 
had played so small a part in the political development of the lands 
in which they lived they had come, during the course of the century, to 
make a fetish of legal equality. To them it was an artide of faith. When 
the Dreyfus affair broke out to warn them that their security was menaced, 
they were deep in the process of a disintegrating assimilation, through 
which their lack of political wisdom was intensified rather than other- 
wise. They were rapidly assimilating themselves to those elements of 
society in which all political passions are smothered beneath the dead 
weight of provincial Babbittry, big business and hitherto unknown 
opportunities for profit. They hoped to get rid of the antipathy which 
this tendency had called forth by diverting it against their poor and as 

wCf. Lecanuet, op. cit., p. 188, 
m Cf . Halperin, Rose A,, op. cit., p. 59, 77 ff. 
L'Echo Sioniste (April 20, 1901) . 


yet unassimilated immigrant brethren. Using the same tactics as gentile 
society had employed against them they took pains to dissociate themselves 
from the so-called Ostjuden. Political antisemitism, such as had mani- 
fested itself in the pogroms of Russia and Rumania, they dismissed airily 
as a survival from the Middle Ages, scarcely a reality of modern politics. 
They could never understand that more was at stake in the Dreyfus 
affair than mere social status, if only because more than mere social 
antisemitism had been brought to bear. 

These then are the reasons why so few wholehearted supporters of 
Dreyfus were to be found in the ranks of French Jewry. 108 The Jews, 
including the very family of the accused, shrank from starting a political 
fight. On just these grounds, Labori, counsel for Zola, was refused the 
defense before the Rennes tribunal, while Dreyfus' second lawyer, 
D6mange, was constrained to base his plea on the issue of doubt. It was 
hoped thereby to smother under a deluge of compliments any possible 
attack from the army or its officers. The idea was that the royal road to 
an acquittal was to pretend that the whole thing boiled down to the pos- 
sibility of a judicial error, the victim of which just happened by chance 
to be a Jew. The result was a second verdict and Dreyfus, refusing to face 
the true issue, was induced to renounce a retrial and instead to peti- 
tion for clemency. 109 The Jews failed to see that what was involved was an 
organized fight against them on an ideological front. They therefore 
resisted the co-operation of men who were prepared to meet the challenge 
on this basis. How blind was their attitude is shown clearly by the case 
of Cl&nenceau. Cl&nenceau's struggle for justice as the foundation of 
the state certainly embraced the restoration of equal rights to the Jews. 
In an age, however, of class struggle on the one hand and rampant jingo- 
ism on the other, it would have remained without political actuality had 
it not been conceived, at the same time, in terms of the oppressed fighting 
their oppressors. Cl&nenceau was one of the few true friends modern 
Jewry has known just because he recognized and proclaimed before the 

108 See d&nenceau's articles entitled "Le Spectacle du jour," "Et les Juifsl" "La Farce du 
syndicat," and "Encore les juifs!" in L'IniquiM. 

101 Cf. Labori, Fernand, "Le mal politique et les partis," in La Grande Revue (October- 
December, 1901) : "From the moment at Rennes when the accused pleaded guilty and the 
defendant renounced recourse to a retrial in the hope of gaining a pardon, the Dreyfus case 
as a great, universal human issue was definitely dosed." In his article entitled "Le Spectacle 
du jour/' C16nenceau speaks of the Jews of Algiers "in whose behalf Rothschild will not 
voice the least protest." 


world that Jews were one of the oppressed peoples of Europe. The anti- 
semi te tends to see in the Jewish parvenu an upstart pariah; consequently 
in every huckster he fears a Rothschild and in every shnorrer a parvenu. 
But Clmenceau, in his consuming passion for justice, still conceived the 
Rothschilds as members of a downtrodden people. His anguish over the 
national misfortune of France opened his eyes and his heart even to those 
" unfortunates, who pose as leaders of their people and promptly leave 
them in the lurch," to those cowed and subdued elements who, in their 
ignorance, weakness and fear, have been so much bedazzled by admira- 
tion of the stronger as to exclude them from partnership in any active 
struggle and who are able only when the battle has been won to "rush 
to the aid of the winner/' 110 

The Pardon and Its Significance 

That the Dreyfus drama was no tragedy but a comedy became apparent 
only in its final act. The deus ex machina who united the disrupted 
country, turned Parliament in favor of a retrial and eventually reconciled 
the disparate elements of the people, from the extreme right to the social- 
ists, was nothing other than the Paris Exposition of 1900. What 
Cl&nenceau's daily editorials, Zola's pathos, Jaurs' speeches and the 
popular hate of clergy and aristocracy had failed to achieve, namely, a 
change of parliamentary feeling in favor of Dreyfus, was at last accom- 
plished by the fear of a boycott. The same Parliament which a year before 
had unanimously rejected a retrial, now by a two-thirds majority passed 
a vote of censure on an anti-Dreyfus government. In July, 1899 the 
Waldeck-Rousseau cabinet came to power. President Loubet pardoned 
Dreyfus and liquidated the entire affair. The Exposition was able to 
open under the brightest of commercial skies and general fraternization 
ensued: even socialists became eligible for government posts; Millerand, 
the first socialist minister in Europe, received the portfolio of commerce. 

Parliament became the champion of Dreyfus 1 That was the upshot. 
For Cl&nenceau, of course, it was a defeat. To the bitter end he de- 
nounced the ambiguous pardon and the even more ambiguous amnesty. 
"All it has done," said Zola, 111 "is to lump together in a single stinking 
pardon men of honor and hoodlums. All have been thrown into one pot. 1 * 

>Ibid. f "Encore les juifel" and "La Farce du syndicat." 

m Cf. Zola's letter dated September IS, 1899, in Correspondance: lettre$ & Mattre Labori. 


Clemenceau remained, as at the beginning, utterly alone. The socialists, 
above all, Jaures, welcomed both pardon and amnesty. Did it not insure 
them a place in the government and a more extensive representation of 
their special interests? A few months later, in May, 1900, when the suc- 
cess of the Exposition was assured the real truth at last emerged. All of 
these appeasement tactics were to be at the expense of the Dreyfusards. 
The motion for a further retrial was defeated by 425 votes to 60. 112 But 
the defeat for Clemenceau did not mean victory for the Church and the 
army. The separation of Church and State and the ban on parochial 
education brought to an end the political influence of Catholicism in 
France. Similarly, the subjection of the intelligence service to the 
ministry of war, i.e., to the civil authority, robbed the army of its black- 
mailing influence on cabinet and Chamber and removed from it any 
justification for conducting police inquiries on its own account. 

In 1909 Drumont stood for the Academy. Once his antisemitism had 
been lauded by the Catholics and acclaimed by the people. Now, however, 
the "greatest historian since Fustel" 118 was obliged to yield to Marcel 
Provost, author of the somewhat pornographic Demi-Vierges, and the 
new "immortal" received the congratulations of the Jesuit Father Du 
Lac. 114 Even the Society of Jesus had composed its quarrel with the 
Third Republic. The close of the Dreyfus case marked the end of 
clerical antisemitism. 115 The compromise adopted by the Third Republic 
cleared the defendant without granting him a regular trial, while it 
restricted the activities of Catholic organizations. Whereas Bernard 
Lazare had asked equal rights for both sides the state had allowed one 
exception for the Jews and another which threatened the freedom of 
conscience of Catholics. 116 The parties which were really in conflict were 

'"Even Cl&nenceau's government in 1906 did not dare to entrust the retrial to a normal 
court of law. The (illegal) acquittal' through the Court of Appeal was a compromise. 

^Lemaltre's estimate of Drumont as quoted by Schapira, J., Der Antisemitismus in der 
franzosischen Literatur (Berlin 1927) p. 132. 

"* Cf. Herzog, op. cit. 9 p. 67. 

135 Only the Jesuits seem to have forgotten nothing and learned nothing. Thus long 
before the fascist coup in Italy their journal, Civilttt Cattolica, was carrying anti-Jewish 
propaganda and its policy was not affected by the anti-Christian attitude of the Nazis; see 
the passage cited from the issue of April, 1938 by Starr, Joshua, "Italy's Antisemites," in 
Jewish Social Studies, vol. i (193*9) 109 f. Among the exceptions to the foregoing statement 
the most notable is the Jesuit Pierre Charles of Louvain, who has denounced the Protocols. 

^Lazare's position in the Dreyfus affair is best described by P6guy in Notre Jeunesse 
(Paris 1934) . Regarding him as the true representative of Jewish interests Pe"guy formulates 


both placed outside the law, with the result that the Jewish question on 
the one hand and political Catholicism on the other were banished thence- 
forth from the arena of practical politics. Had this been the upshot of 
the whole tragi-comedy it would have been a sorry thing for Jewish 
history. In point of fact, however, the Dreyfus affair was of marked 
positive significance: it kindled the flame of political Zionism. 

Herd and Lazare 

To the mass of Western Jewry, never really assimilated despite the 
recourse of some to the antisemitic salons, the Dreyfus case was scarcely 
of decisive consequence. But to the "modern, cultured Jew who had 
outgrown the ghetto and its haggling it was a thrust to the heart/' 117 
For him Herzl's naive generalization was true: it had taken "the common 
enemy" to make him once more member of a people. 118 These "prodigal 
sons" had learned a lot from their environment and when they returned 
to the ancestral hearth they found themselves possessed by that intense 
discontent which has always been the hallmark of true patriotism and 
of true devotion to one's people. Sadly and with a certain amazement 
they came to realize that the moment they proposed improvements in the 
age-old structure, it was at once decided to expel them from it. And all 
the time they saw the building in danger of collapse. 

Theodor Herzl arrived in Paris just in time to report the first Dreyfus 
trial for a Vienna paper. He heard the rabble cry "Death to the Jews!" 
and proceeded to write The Jewish State. Bernard Lazare had come from 
his home town in the south of France some years before, in the midst 
of the antisemitic furore caused by the Panama scandal. Shortly before 
the Dreyfus case he had published a two-volume work on antisemitism, 
in which he had laid it down that this was due, among other things, to the 
unsocial behavior of the Jews. 119 At that time he believed that he had 
found in socialism the solution. Lazare likewise was an eyewitness of the 

Lazare's demands as follows (p. 110) : "Common right for Dreyfus, common right against 
the congregations. It looks like nothing but it can lead far. It led Lazare to a death in 
isolation. He stood essentially for justice . . . against exceptions." Lazare was one of the 
first Dreyfusards to protest against the law governing congregations; ibid., p. 102 ff. 

M7 Herzl, Theodor, Gesammclte Werke, vol. i, p. 176. 

m Cf* Herzl's statement before the British Aliens Commission: "A nation is an historic 
group of men united by clearly discernible ties, and held together by a common foe." 
(Gesammelte Werke, vol. i, p. 474) . 

*" Lazare, Bernard, L'Antisjmitismv: son histoire et ses causes (Paris 1894) . 


Dreyfus trial and he determined not to wait for the world revolution. 
As he came face to face with the rising hatred of the mob he realized at 
once that from now on he was an outcast 120 and accepted the challenge* 
Alone among the champions of Dreyfus he took his place as a conscious 
Jew, fighting for justice in general but for the Jewish people in 
particular* 121 

Both men were turned into Jews by antisemitism. Neither concealed 
the fact. 122 Both realized just because they were so "assimilated" that 
emancipation had remained a dead letter, and that in reality the Jew 
had become the pariah of the modern world. 123 Both stood outside the 
religious tradition of Judaism and neither wished to return to it. Both 
were removed, as intellectuals, from those narrow and parochial Jewish 
cliques which had somehow grown up within the framework of gentile 
society. Both were poles apart from that social ghetto which had re- 
tained everything of the ghetto's life except its inner values. Yet both 
were its natural products; it was from this that both had escaped. When 
they were drawn back Judaism could no longer mean to them a religion, 
and certainly not the half-hearted adherence to one of many cliques. 
For them their Jewish origin had a political and national significance. 
They could find no place for themselves in Jewry unless the Jewish people 
became a nation. In their subsequent fight for the liberation of their people 
both men came into serious conflict with the forces which then controlled 

120 Cf. Lazare, Le Fumier de lob (Paris 1928) p. 64: "Henceforth I am a pariah." 

m Cf. Pguy, Notre Jeunesse, p. 68-69, 74: "The politicians, the rabbis, the official com- 
munities of Israel . . . were only too willing to sacrifice Dreyfus for the sake of an illusion. 
The great mass of the Jews . , . has never been led to its great, if sad, destiny except by 
force that is, by a band of fanatics grouped around certain heads, or more precisely, around 
the prophets of Israel. In this great crisis for Israel and the world the prophet was Bernard 

258 Cf. Herd's remark in a letter of the year 1895: "My Judaism was to me a matter of 
indifference. . . . However, just as antisemitism sent the feeble, cowardly and ambitious 
Jews into the ranks of Christendom, so it sent me back with renewed vigor to my Judaism." 
(Tagebucher, vol. i, p. 120-121) Similar statements occur passim in his diaries. Bernard 
Lazare's declaration may be found in his Fumier de lob: "I am a Jew, yet I ignore everything 
Jewish. ... I must needs know who I am, why I am hated and what I might be." 

"'Cf. the remark of Herd at the "family council' of the Rothschilds: "Sic werden 
nirgends als voll, ja nicht einmal als Staatsangehoerige angesehen;" Tagebticher, vol. i, p. 187. 
Similarly in the memoranda for his interview with Baron Hirsch there occurs the observation: 
"You are pariahs. You have to live on tenterhooks lest anyone deprive you of your rights or 
property." (Gesammelte Werke, vol. vi, p. 462) Cf. also Lazare's remark about the "uncon- 
scious pariah," i.e., the non-emancipated Jew and the "conscious pariah" of western society, 
in Le Nationdisme Jvif (Paris 1898) p. 8; Kadimah, no. 1. 


Jewish politics, namely, the philanthropists. In these conflicts, which in 
the end exhausted them, both were to learn that the Jewish people was 
threatened not only by the antisemites from without but also by the rule 
of its "benefactors" from within. 124 

But here the similarity ends and there begins that great difference 
which was to lead ultimately to a personal breach between the two men, 
when they were serving together on the executive committee of the 
Zionist Organization. Herd's solution of the Jewish problem was, in the 
final analysis, escape or deliverance in a homeland. In the light of the 
Dreyfus case the whole of the gentile world seemed to him hostile; there 
were only Jews and antisemites. 125 He considered that he would have to 
deal with this hostile world and even with avowed antisemites. To him it 
was a matter of indifference just how hostile a gentile might be; indeed, 
thought he, the more antisemitic a man was the more he would appreciate 
the advantages of a Jewish exodus from Europe! 126 To Lazare, on the 
other hand, the territorial question was secondary a mere outcome of the 
primary demand that "the Jews should be emancipated as a people and 
in the form of a nation." 127 What he sought was not an escape from 
antisemitism but a mobilization of the people against its foes. This is 
shown clearly by his part in the Dreyfus case and by his later memorandum 
on the persecution of the Jews in Rumania. 128 The consequence of this 
attitude was that he did not look around for more or less antisemitic pro- 

"*In his interview with Lord Rothschild Herd described Jewish charity as "eine Maschine 
zur Unterdrueckung der Notschreie." (Tagebucher, vol. iii, p. 218.) He came into open 
conflict with the philanthropists when he established the Jewish Colonial Bank and the 
latter subsequently foundered, as the result of being boycotted by Jewish financial circles. 
The matter is discussed at length in his Gesammelte Werke, vol. i, p. 406 ff., and there are 
frequent references to it in the diaries. Similarly Lazare came into conflict with the whole 
of French Jewry through his championship of Dreyfus. Cf. Hagani, Baruch, Bernard Lazare, 
1865-1903 (Paris 1919) p. 28 ff. That he got the worst of this conflict is shown fully by 
Pguy, op. cit., p. 75 ff. One example quoted by Pguy (p. 84) is significant: "When nego- 
tiations were started for founding a large-scale daily, the Jewish backers hardly imposed any 
condition other than that Bernard Lazare should not write for it." 

* Cf. his remark in Der Judenstaat (Gesammelte Werke, vol. i, p. 36) : "The peoples 
among whom Jews live are one and all shamefully or shamelessly antisemitic/' 

** Cf. the recurrent observation recorded in his TagebUcher, vol. i, p. 93: "It is the anti- 
semites who will be our staunchest friends, and the antisemitic countries which will be our 
allies." How he interpreted this notion in practice is revealed in a letter to Katznelson, 
written in connection with the Kishinev pogroms of 1903. In that letter he seeks to "derive 
some measure of advantage from the threatening calamity/' 

** In Le Fumicr de lab, 

**Les Juifs en Roumani* (Paris 1902) . 


tectors but for real comrades-in-arms, whom he hoped to find among all 
the oppressed groups of contemporary Europe. 129 He knew that anti- 
seinltism was neither an isolated nor a universal phenomenon and that 
the shameful complicity of the Powers in the East-European pogroms had 
been symptomatic of something far deeper, namely, the threatened col- 
lapse of all moral values under the pressure of imperialist politics. 130 
In the light of the Dreyfus case and of his own experience in fighting 
alongside of Jews for one of their brethren Lazare came to realize that 
the real obstacle in the path of his people's emancipation was not anti- 
Semitism. It was "the demoralization of a people made up of the poor and 
downtrodden, who live on the alms of their wealthy brethren, a people 
revolted only by persecution from without but not by oppression from 
within, revolutionaries in the society of others but not in their own/' 131 
111 would it serve the cause of freedom, thought he, if a man were to begin 
by abandoning his own people. Fighters for freedom could be interna- 
tionalists only if by that they meant that they were prepared to recognize 
the freedom of all nations; anti-national they could never be. 132 Lazare's 
criticism of his people was at least as bitter as Herzl's but he never 
despised them and did not share Herzl's idea that politics must be con- 
ducted from above. 188 Faced with the alternative of remaining politically 

149 Characteristic of this attitude is the following passage from his Juifs en Roumanie, 
p. 103: "It may well be that if it [the Rumanian bourgeoisie] plunges the Jew into despair 
and pushes him to the limit, this very fact, despite his passivity and despite the advice of his 
wealthy faint-hearts, will forge a link between him and the agricultural laborer and aid 
both to throw off the yoke." In marked contrast is the attitude of Herd, as revealed when, 
following his interview with the sultan, he received telegrams of protest from student-meet- 
ings comprising persons of all kinds >of oppressed nationalities. He was, he confessed, "pained 
and distressed," but the only political effect this had on him was to make him talk about 
using those telegrams in his conversations with the sultanl Cf. Tagebucher, vol. iii, p. 103. 

340 Cf. his remark in Les Juifs en Roumanie, p. 91: "Besides, what other nation dares open 
its mouth? England, who wiped out the Boers? Russia, who oppressed the Finns and Jews? 
France, who massacred the Annamites . . . and is now getting ready to butcher the Moors? 
Italy, who ravages in Eritrea today and in Tripoli tomorrow? Or Germany, the savage 
executioner of the negroes?" 

An interesting insight into the connection between antisemitism's brutalization of peoples 
and the policies of imperialism is revealed by Fernand Labori, would-be counsel for Dreyfus, 
in his article "Le Mai politique et les partis," in La Grande Revue (October-December, 
1901) 276: "Similarly, the movement of colonial expansion provides ... a characteristic* 
trait of the present era. It is a commonplace to point out that this policy has cost human- 
ity moral as well as material sacrifices." 

Le Fumier de lob, p. 151. 

"Peguy, Notre Jeunesse, p. 130, stresses this contrast between the international and the 
anti-national as illustrating Lazare's Jewish patriotism. 

188 Cf. Tagebucher, vol. i, p. 193. 


ineffective or of including himself among the lite group of saviors, he 
preferred to retreat into absolute isolation where, if he could do naught 
else, he could at least remain one of the people. 134 

For Lazare could find no supporters in France. The only element of 
Western Europe which might have responded to his message, the Jews 
who had outgrown the petty trader's haggling, the intellectuals in the 
liberal professions, were virtually non-existent in that country. On the 
other hand, the impoverished masses, whom he had loved so deeply, and 
the Jewish oppressed, whom he had championed so devotedly, 135 were 
separated from him by thousands of miles as well as by a difference in 
language. In a certain sense, therefore, Herzl with the support of German 
and Austrian Jewry succeeded where Lazare failed. So utter, indeed, was 
his failure that he was passed over in silence by his Jewish contempo- 
raries 136 to be recovered to us by Catholic writers; better than we those 
men knew that Lazare was a great Jewish patriot as well as a great 
French writer. 187 

184 On March 24, 1899 Lazare wrote to Herd that he felt obliged to resign from the ex- 
ecutive committee, which, he added, "tries to direct the Jewish masses as if they were an 
ignorant child. . . . That is a conception radically opposed to all my political and social 
opinions and I can therefore not assume responsibility for it;" quoted by Hagani, Bernard 
Lazare, p. 39. 

** Pguy, Notre Jeunesse, p. 87, describes him as follows: "A heart which beat to all the 
echoes of the world, a man who could slum four, six, eight or a dozen pages of a newspaper 
to light, like a streak of lightning, on a single line containing the word Jew ... a heart 
which bled in all the ghettos of the world . . . wherever the Jew was oppressed, that is, in a 
sense, everywhere." 

188 ibid., p. 84: "Everything was set in motion to make him die quietly of hunger." 

187 If it were not for Pe"guy's memoir, "Le portrait, de Bernard Lazare," prefixed to the 
posthumous edition of Le Fumier de lob, we would know little about Lazare. Hagani's 
biography is based to a large extent on Peguy, while it was only with the latter's help that 
Lazare himself was able to publish his work on the Jews of Rumania. The saddest part of 
this sad story is the fact, pointed out by Peguy, that the only man who really appreciated 
Lazare's greatness and love for Jewry, even though he regarded him as an enemy, was 
Edouard Drumont. 


Martin Luther, disappointed by his failure to convert the Jews, be- 
came one of their bitterest enemies. In his pamphlet of 1543 On The 
Jews and Their Lies he wrote: "There is no people under the sun so 
avid of revenge, so bloodthirsty, believing itself to be God's people 
merely in order to strangle and immolate the heathens. . . . Know, Chris- 
tian, that next to the devil thou hast no enemy more cruel, more ven- 
omous and violent than a true Jew." * Luther's "unusually harsh lan- 
guage," which "displeased even some of his followers," 2 seems to antici- 
pate and to justify the attempts of the National Socialists to exterminate 
the Jews. It is no matter of chance that Luther's antisemitic utterances 
were reprinted in Germany after Hitler's rise to power. Yet if Luther 
at times appeared to deny the Jew even the right to live, or to regard 
him as a parasite and exploiter by virtue of his unchangeably evil nature, 
he attacked the Jews essentially because they were not and refused to 
become Christians. He concluded his Exhortation against the Jews of 
February 15, 1546 with a significant statement: "If the Jews wish to be 
converted and give up blaspheming and everything else they have been 
doing to us, we shall readily pardon them. If not, we shall not bear 
and tolerate them amongst us." 

Modern antisemitism, which culminated and became a most grue- 
some reality in the extermination camps of Hitler's Third Reich, started 
to develop only after the secularization of life, which transformed religious 
beliefs into private affairs without public significance. Only then could 
racial intolerance replace the religious intolerance which dominated the 
conscious attitude of Luther and of other medieval minds toward the 
Jew. Only then could the attempt be made, first in theory and with 
some limitations in practice, finally with the utmost ruthlessness, to de- 
fine and handle the Jew as being necessarily evil by nature with no chance 
or possibility of change and redemption. 

* The author is indebted to his colleague, Prof. M. A. Fitzsimmons, for his untiring help, 
without which this article could not have been completed. , 

1 Translation of Luther's statements as quoted by Baron, S. W., A Social and Religious 
History of the Jews (New York 1937) vol. ii, p. 124. 

* Baron, op. cit. 



This study attempts to give a survey of the rise and the types of 
modern antisemitism in Germany. Modern antisemitism is not an ex- 
clusively German affair even German racialist theories have some non- 
German ancestors, most prominent and unwittingly among them is Ernest 
Renan but it has found its most radical formulations and applications 
in Germany. My analysis will deal with the various ideological trends 
and, finally, with the changes in the politico-social structure that, first, 
brought about the identification of antisemitism and Hitler's totalitarian 
nationalism, and, secondly, helped National Socialism to seize power. 

The description of modern antisemitism in Germany offered here 
begins with Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthum, a work which has 
been characterized as the "last compendium of medieval Jew-hatred." 8 
Thus it may serve as a useful point of departure for a study of the 
modern phases. 

From Eisenmenger to Duehring 

Eisenmenger's Entdecktes Judenthum, published after some trouble 
under Prussian privileges in 17 II, 4 has exercised a tremendous influence 
upon all haters and enemies of the Jews. Indeed, it has remained a 
source-book for antisemites even to our own day. 5 But it is not repre- 
sentative of modern racial antisemitism, for Eisenmenger believed or 
tried to give the impression that he believedthat his opposition to the 
Jews was religious in origin. In his concluding chapters he discussed the 
various facts that favored or prevented the renunciation of the Jewish 
religion. To Eisenmenger the Jew was a dangerous alien, separated 
from all other peoples, hating and exploiting them, because he accepted 
the Talmud with its according to Eisenmenger anti-human legislation 
and views. This dangerous Talmudic Jew despised the Christianized 
Jews and threatened to kill them. Eisenmenger blamed the Christians 
as well for their failure to support these victims of Jewish hatred. 

8 Arendt, Hannah, "Privileged Jews," in Jewish Social Studies, vol. viii (1946) 3-31. 

4 Eisenmenger, Johann A., Entdecktes Judenthum. Mit Preussischem Privileg (Koenigs- 
berg 1711). This edition had been printed in Berlin, after a first edition had been con- 
fiscated by order of Emperor Leopold I, who had been influenced by Jews. For the details 
cf. Universal Jewish Encyclopedia, art. "Eisenmenger." An English adaptation by J. P. 
Stehelin entitled The Tradition of the Jews appeared in London, 1732-1734. Excerpts were 
published by J. Eckes in Stuttgart, 1924. 

*Dubnow, S., Weltgeschichte des juedischen Volkes (Berlin 1929) vol. x, p. 77, mentions 
that August Rdhling's Der Talmudjude (1875) was characterized by opponents as "cin 
Plagiat an dem Entdechten Judentum von Eisenmenger." 


The Jew was defined by his religion, which formed the basis of Jewish 
national existence, and his religion was pictured as anti-social and anti- 
human. Thus in order to claim equal rights for him and to regard the 
Jew as a citizen like other citizens, it was necessary to show that his 
religion did not separate the Jew from humanity. Moses Mendelssohn 
endeavored to prove, e.g., in his Jerusalem? that the Jewish religion was 
nothing else than the natural religion common to all mankind, and that 
the social and political roles of Jewish legislation had ended with the 
destruction of the Temple. The Jew was a man like other men, and he 
could remain an adherent of his traditional Judaism without separating 
himself from society and mankind. He was under obligation to observe 
the laws of the country in which he was living, and his observance of 
the Mosaic law was a private affair without social importance. On an 
intellectual basis similar to that of Mendelssohn and also of Lessing's 
Nathan the Wise (1779) , the Prussian civil servant, Ch. W. von Dohm, 
developed the practical program of Jewish emancipation. 7 Dohm ex- 
ercised a decisive influence upon the practical attitude toward the Jew. 
According to him Jews could be made a truly useful part of the popula- 
tion. He urged the reversal of the policy of segregation and of restric- 
tion to certain professions which created a specific mentality. The so- 
called bad qualities of the Jews were the products of gentile behavior 
toward them. Dohm, who was a child of the eighteenth century with its 
enlightened despots, would have been tremendously surprised by the 
recent claim of antisemites 8 that at his time the Jews enjoyed liberties 

6 Mendelssohn, Moses, Jerusalem oder ueber religioese Macht und Judentum (Berlin 
1783) . The advice is given to the Jews (p. 127) : "Schickt euch in die Sitten und in die 
Verfassung des Landes in welches ihr versetzt seid; aber haltet euch standhaft bey der 
Religion eurer Vaeter." The observance of the ceremonial law by the Jews should not 
conflict with the civic love ("buergerliche Liebe") of the Christians. 

7 The book of the Prussian archivist and military councillor, Christian W. von Dohm, 
Ueber die buergerliche Verbesserung der Juden, appeared in Berlin-Stettin, 1781. 

8 Cf. Botzenhart, Erich, "Politischer Aufstieg des Judentums bis zur Revolution von 1848," 
in Forschungen zur Judenfrage, vol. iii (1938): "Die angebliche Unterdrueckung des 
Judentums im absoluten Staat dieser Zeit bedeutet gar nichts anderes als seine Einordnung in 
das Feste Gefuege einer korporativ straff gegliederten staatlichen und wirtschaftlichen 
Organisation . . . Dem Judentum war in dieser Organisation sein geschichtlich gewordener 
Platz genau wie alien anderen zugewiesen . . . Dabei war die Stellung des Judentums inner- 
fa alb dieser Ordnung eine sehr viel guenstigere als die mancher anderen Staende." Cf. the 
interesting discussion by Hannah Arendt (he. cit.) of the different conditions under 
which the few Hofjuden and the mass of the Jews lived: "Jews with a lot of money and great 
ability were able to enter the paradise of rights and liberties, and Jews without money and 
business still continued to live in dire poverty and without civic rights." 


and were simply regarded as belonging to a status with particular rights 
and obligations in a corporate society organized according to status. He 
believed that to open all professions to Jews, to grant them full citizen- 
ship rights would cause all peculiarities to disappear, perhaps not at once, 
but after generations; he was opposed to immediate admission of Jews 
into the civil service and he agreed that in the beginning it would be 
necessary to prevent concentration in their traditional trades. 9 Before 
the French Revolution Dohm developed the fundamental program of 
the Emancipation, 10 based, it is true, on the ideal of enlightened ab- 
solutism, according to which the state has to care from above for the 
welfare and increase of the population. The Jews are men like other 
men; they are not responsible if they have some peculiar features these 
features were imposed upon them; they will become completely "as- 
similated 1 'to use the expression which later became so popular if their 
disabilities are removed. 

A belief similar to that of Dohm's but less radical, dominated the 
attempts of the Austrian Emperor, Joseph, 11 to change the laws applying 
to the Jewish group, and to educate the Jews towards participation in the 
general life of the national community. This program involved accept- 
ance of German family-names and the use of the German language in 
business. Although this legislation did not abolish the special status of 

'Dohm, op. cit. t p. 118 .: The Jews should not yet be admitted into the civil service "in 
den naechsten Generationen . . . Der noch zu kaufmaennissche Geist der meisten Juden 
wird besser durch starke koerperliche Arbeiten als durch die stillsitzende des oeffentlichen 
Bedienten gebrochen werden." 

10 On the fundamental change brought about by the Emancipation, cf. Baron: "Before 
the French Revolution Jewry was organized in special corporate bodies endowed with a 
legal status of their own . . . the modern egalitarian state could no longer tolerate the 
existence of such a self-governing body. Emancipation is an exchange of the duties of 
citizenship for the right of an extensive self-government." Baron, S. W., "The Jewish 
Question in the Nineteenth Century," Journal of Modern History, vol. x (1938) 59. 

Cf. R. Mahler, Jewish Emancipation. A Selection of Documents. Pamphlet Series, Jews 
and the Post-War World, no. 1 (New York 1941) . 

31 The Edict of Toleration of January 2, 1782 is reprinted in Mahler, ibi$. } p. 17f. Wilhelm 
Bauer wrote in his article, "Zur Judenfrage als gesamtdeutscher Angelegenheit," in Festgabe 
fuer Heinrich Ritter von Srbik . . . (Munich 1938) p. 238: "Ohne Vorbehalt fur die Segnungen 
der Toleranz war nur jene duenne Schicht reicher und satter Juden die ... durch jene 
zwei Patente im grossen und ganzen bloss die rechtliche Bekraeftigung dessen erhielten was 
sie schon praktisch innehatten. Die Mehrzahl der anderen Juden haette rait Freuden auf 
Freiheiten verzichtet, die ihr bisheriges nationales und religioeses Eigenleben zu zerstoeren 
drohten." And W. Bauer, who did not like the emancipation, accused Emperor Joseph II of 
being responsible unconsciously for the permeation of occidental civilization with the 
Jewish spiritl 


the Jews, it was motivated by a belief in the idea of universal citizenship 
and equality before the law. 

Legal emancipation began in the German states only after the French 
Revolution. 12 It was first introduced in these states under French in- 
fluence and domination. In Prussia it was one of the reforms carried 
out by Hardenberg, after the defeat of 1806 had made a break with the 
Prussian regime of the eighteenth century unavoidable. Emancipation 
was legally completed with some reverses (especially after the Congress 
of Vienna) in all Germany only in 1871, when the constitution of the 
Reich took over the provisions of the North Germanic Confederation. 

But we observe that even before the emancipation there developed a 
strong opposition to the attempts of the Jews to overcome their separa- 
tion from society and national life. Fichte, in 1793, characterized the 
Jews as citizens of a secret super-state spread among and inimical to all 
nations. 18 This daim was eagerly repeated by Grattenauer, a writer of 
antisemitic pamphlets, who, by his Wider die Juden (1803) M won a sen- 
sational success in Berlin with his denunciations of Jewish salons and 
social influence, which had developed in the last decades of the eighteenth 
century, before the legal emancipation. 15 The Jews were accused of 

"CL Mahler, op. cit. Botzenhart, toe. cit. f claims that the Jewish legislation of the South 
German States was influenced by Joseph ITs Edict of Toleration. But the Prussian Edict on 
the Civil Status of the Jews in the Prussian state of March II, 1812 like the earlier Jewish 
laws of Frankfurt (1810) and the Mecklenburg law of February 22, 1812 drops all "caution." 
(p. 72) National Socialist writers attack, besides Hardenberg, particularly W. von Humboldt 
for his work in behalf of Jewish emancipation. W. Grau's W. von Humboldt und die Juden 
(Hamburg 1936) tries to show that purely private motives particularly his love for the 
beautiful mistress of a Jewish Berlin society salon, Madame Hen caused his unfortunate 
philosemitic inclinations. Grau misrepresents the relations between von Humboldt and Mrs. 
Herz, and he overlooks the humanitarian-enlightened basis of von Humboldt's interest in 
the emancipation. Humboldt, though he had many personal friends among Jews, said: "I love 
the Jew really only en masse; en detail I strictly avoid him." Cf . Arendt, toe. at. 

"This characterization became a particularly popular quotation among antisemites and is 
to be found in J. G. Fichte's Beitraege xur Bcrichtigung der Urtheile ueber die framoesische 

"W. F. Grattenauer believed that Jewish odor had bad effects on the health of non 
Jews (p. 12 of the 4th ed. of Wider die Juden) and he denied the possibility of changing 
the dangerous destructive spirit of Jewry, (p. 152) 

*Hartshorne, R. f The Nature of Geography (Lancaster 1939) p. 64, notes "In his youth, 
A. v. Humboldt had first found intellectual stimulus in what seemed to Goethe, Forster, 
and many others as 'the barren environment of Berlin' almost exclusively in a small drde 
of Jewish intellectuals. From them he had learned of Lessing and Kant" For the attitude 
of intellectuals of the eighteenth century to regard Jews as exemplary models of humanity, Just 
because they belonged to a despised, oppressed and alien people, (Herder was the most out- 
standing representative of such views) cf. Hannah Arendt, loc. cit. 


being allies of corrupt Prussian aristocrats (Buchholz) and of being re- 
sponsible for the victory of anti-traditional and dissolvent forces (von 
Marwitz) . A Prussian nationalistic dub, the Christian German Tafel- 
runde, did not accept Jews, even though the members had Jewish friends, 
continued to frequent Jewish salons and apparently did not at least in 
personal relations look upon baptized Jews as Jews. 16 

The discussion about the Jews assumed a new violence during and 
after the Congress of Vienna. 17 In addition to the opposition to emanci- 
pation manifested by the German states, particularly such cities as Frank- 
furt, Hamburg and Luebeck, there began a literary campaign which ex- 
pressed a new kind of hostility. Ruehs published in the Zeitschrift fur 
neueste Geschichte der V other und Staatenkunde (February 1815) an 
article about the claims of the Jews to German citizenship, in which he 
professed that he had formerly been an adherent of pro-Jewish humani- 
tarian ideas. He still advocated "human rights" for Jews, but the En- 
lightenment went too far: its representative Dohm explained all Jewish 
peculiarities as arising from external pressures, which according to Ruehs, 
is not correct. The Jews are not only a people but subjects of a "the- 
ocracy." They form a state of their own and as inhabitants of a gentile 
state they suffer from a conflict of loyalties. Thus they can only be sub- 
jects, not citizens a distinction which, by the way, came to be applied in 
Hitler's Mein Kampf, the Nazi program and the Nuremberg laws. Jews 
accept the rule of rabbis, regard themselves as the chosen people, and 
think of labor as punishment. Thus, they can, accordingly, only be 
tolerated; their rights must be limited; they should not be allowed po- 
sitions of authority, that is, they should not be appointed as judges and 
officials or teachers; they are to bear a special sign; their immigration 
ought to be prevented, etc. On the other hand, work for the christianiza- 
tion of Jews is recommended, a proof that Ruehs was not a conscious 

While Ruehs 9 opposition to the emancipation of the Jews expressed 

"Krueger, Hans Karl, Berliner Romantik und Berliner Judentum (Bonn 1939) made 
desperate efforts to explain away the friendly relations of the Berlin romantic authors with 
Jews: "In E. T. A. Hoffmann zeigt rich der sonderbare Zwiespalt des xomantischen Menschen. 
Er greift nach der Hilfe einzelner Judcn, aber er wendet sich gegen das Tudentum als 
solches." Kleist also needed Jewish society: "Im Iddvollen Erfahren seiner Tannamifrif 8 ucht 
Kleist die belebende Waenne des juedischen Salons." (I) 

1T Cf. Baron, S., Die Judenfrage auf dem Wiener Kongrex (1920) . 


the attitude o conservative believers in a Christian state, it is not as 
interesting as J. Fries' radical rejection of Judaism, advanced in a review 
of Ruehs' pamphlet. This rejection deserves particular attention, be- 
cause it is based upon an acceptance of a secularized humanitarian belief, 
with explicit abandonment of Ruehs' belief in a Christian state and a 
Christian community. In his pamphlet Ueber die Gefaehrdung des 
Wohlstandes und Characters der Deutschen durch die Juden (Heidel- 
berg 1816) Fries accepted Ruehs' criticism of Dohm's belief that the 
Jewish character was corrupted by pressure from outside. He agreed 
with Ruehs "that the evil character of Jewish life is based upon the 
religious and civil constitution of Jewry." (p. 6) But unlike Ruehs he 
did not propose that in a Christian community the Jews be tolerated as 
a group with restricted minority rights. Judaism must be completely 
wiped out. He was not against the Jews, "our brothers," he claimed, 
"but against Jewry" (Judenschaft) . This pestilence must be completely 
removed. "To improve the civil position of the Jews means to wipe out 
Jewry, to destroy the society of mendacious hucksters and merchants." 
(p. 10) The Jews, according to Fries, should not be permitted to form 
Jewish groups. Such Jewish groups are necessarily anti-human, based 
upon an anti-social theocracy, apart from and opposed to mankind. The 
Jews must disappear as a group. If they were to remain a group, they 
would be unable to fulfill the duties of a citizen of a national state. On 
the other hand, Fries is no racialist. The state must give "to everybody, 
Wend, German or Jew, the same rights, the same protection," but Jewry 
cannot be tolerated, except possibly in some cities and under the strictest 
supervision. 18 

Ruehs revived a traditional opposition to Jewish equality the Jew 
cannot have equal rights in a Christian nation and represented the views 
of conservative opponents of emancipation or, at least, of a complete 
emancipation which would permit Jews to occupy positions of authority. 
Such views were repeated and later systematically formulated by the 
famous theoretician of Prussian conservatism and of the Christian state, 

18 Cf. also Wilhelm Bauer's analysis of Ludwig Hoist Judenthum . . . (published in 
1821) . In this book the fear is expressed that the Jews will obtain "a complete domination 
of the world of ideas" by occupying all strategic positions in the book trade, theater, 
journalism, reviewing. For a bibliography of the literature for and against the Jews from 
the emancipation to the second half of the nineteenth century, cf. Eichstaedt, V f , Bibli- 
ographic zur Geschichte der Judenfrage (Hamburg 1938) . 


F. J. Stahl, who has been rejected by Nazi scholars as an ambiguous alien 
influence on account of his Jewish origin. 19 Much less attention has 
been devoted to the leftist, "enlightened," "humanitarian" antisemitism 
represented in eighteenth-century France by Voltaire, who emphasized 
the enmity between enlightened humanity and the sordid prejudices of 
the Jews. Its German representative, Fries, believed that the Jews can 
dissolve themselves in the nation, completely abandoning their religion, 
the basis of their alien existence as a kind of parasitic theocracy. Jews 
can be rescued by participation in the national life and by completely 
renouncing Judaism. Similiar views were held by Paulus, the liberal 
Protestant theologian, against whom Gabriel Riesser 20 argued that it 
was possible to be both a good, progressive German and a Jew in religion. 
The leftist views were also expressed by Bruno Bauer, 21 the Young 
Hegelian, whose ideas on the Jewish question were made famous by Karl 
Marx. 22 Bauer severely criticized the interest of the Jews in emancipa- 
tion. The Jews, after all, were interested only in their own emancipa- 
tion, and would continue to practice their own religion, whose essence 
was, according to Bauer, a limitless egoism based on a belief in them- 

10 Botzenhart, op. cit., p. 77, mentions in addition to Friedrich Julius StahFs Der Christliche 
Staat, sein Verhaeltnis zu Deismus und Judentum, the works of Marcard and Constantin 
Frantz as defenders of the "Christian state." An antisemitic attack against Stahl is the 
article of Johannes Heckel, "Der Einbruch des juedischen Geistes in das deutsche Staats 
und Kirchenrecht durch Friedrich Julius Stahl," in Forschungen zur Judenfrage (Hamburg 
1935) , vol. i, Carl Schmitt, the famous German professor of public law, wrote with admiration 
about the great conservative Stahl in his Politische Theologie (Munich 1922) ; but after 1933, 
when he had been for a few years legal expert of the National Socialist government, he 
attacked Stahl as "J ew Jolson." 

30 Riesser, G., Ueber die Stellung der Bekenner des mosaischen Glaubens in Deutschland 

a Most important is Bruno Bauer's Die Judenfrage (Braunschweig 1843) . For a Nazi 
eulogy of Bauer see Waldkraut, Eckhard, "Germanentum und Judentum in Lebenswerke 
Bruno Bauers," in Weltkampf (September-December 1944) . 

"* Marx's criticism of Bauer's views and exposition of his own views on Jews are reprinted 
in Karl Marx, Der historische Materialismus, ed. S. Landshut and J. P. Mayer (Leipzig 1933) 
and in the Gesamtausgabe of Marx-Engels published by the Marx-Engels Institute. A Nazi 
writer claims that "The contact which he [Marx] had with Germany in his youth, and which 
stirred up hatred of the Jews in him, was his only contact with reality,*" Baeumler, A., in 
Weltkampf (May-August 1944) 63. 

Cf. my article: "Das Judentum und die Aufklaerung des 19. Jahrhunderts," in M. 
Oesterreicher's Die Erfuellung (Vienna 1936) , dealing with B. Bauer's, K. Marx's and E. 
Duehring's views on the Jews, Marx's second article on the Jewish question is concluded by 
the statement: "The social emancipation of the Jew is the emancipation of society from 


selves as the chosen people. In the world of genuine emancipation, that 
is, emancipation from all religion, the Jews would disappear. Karl Marx 
accepted Bauer's view that a true emancipation would involve the dis- 
appearance of the Jews. But for Marx ideological emancipation from all 
religion was insufficient. Humanity would have to be liberated from 
the egoistic bourgeois society whose anti-human spirit was typically ex- 
pressed by the Jewish spirit of trade, usury and mammonism. 

This rejection of Jewish religion and Jewish group life, which were 
regarded as opposed to humanity and to the triumph of reason and justice, 
is free from racial antisemitism. The Jewish spirit, which is rejected, is 
seen as the product of religion and, by Marx, as the expression of 
bourgeois society. But the starting point for racial antisemitism can be 
found here very easily, if the Jewish religion is seen as the expression of 
the race. On such a basis emancipation becomes impossible on the 
ground that the Jews are by nature separated from other peoples; their 
evil peculiarities are the necessary expression of their whole being. After 
some preparation by casual remarks and hints of writers influenced by 
Renan's antithesis of Aryan to Semitic peoples, the crudest racialism was 
brutally proclaimed in Eugen Duehring's writings on the Jews. 28 The 
Jews by race are unnatural and anti-natural; Christianity is also rejected 
as an expression of Jewish self-hate. This naturalism is directed against 
the Jews with merciless logic; as parasites and corrupters they must be 
removed from all public influences; they cannot become men, as Fries 
and Bauer apparently believed, for they have no human nature. Con- 
version and all attempts at assimilation are completely meaningless, for 
they lead only to confusion about the unchangeable evil nature of the 
Jews. The Jews are a kind of "counter-race" separated from all hu- 
manity. The monomaniacal racial antisemitism of Duehring regards the 
Jewish religion as the evil expression of Jewry's evil nature. The Jews 
cannot be rescued by emancipation from a religious or social order, as 
Bauer and Marx believed. To Duehring the Jews, upon renouncing 
their religion, were not, as they were for Fries, brethren. They remain 
parasites, for they are condemned to retain their nature. The Jews are 
the product of an illness of human nature. 

28 Most important is Duehring, E., Judenffage (Karlsruhe and Leipzig 1880) . Much, Willi, 

(Buchnow) , 50 Jahre antisemitische Bewegung (Munich 1937) , quotes E. Duehring besides 

P. de Lagarde as the father of racial antisemitism. 


The Rise of Political Antisemitism Under Wilhelm I 

The full significance of radical, anti-religious, naturalistic antisem- 
itism was not realized even after the publication of Duehring's works. 
This was so because emancipation in Germany as elsewhere was completed 
under the influence of liberal, humanitarian ideas. The critics of Jewish 
emancipation were helpless before the trend of the time, which had found 
powerful expression in the demands of the Prussian Diets (Landtage) 
in the eighteen-forties for the completion of this emancipation. 24 Only 
those who protested against the rise of the modern constitutional and 
parliamentary regime and against equal rights for all citizens were re- 
garded as advocating special laws far the Jews. Anti-Jewish literature 
in the sixties and seventies (Noth, Marr) * had no influence on the pre- 
vailing attitude which culminated in the fulfillment of the emancipation 
by the North German Confederation in 1869. Bismarck, the great op- 
portunist, had forgotten his anti-emancipation speeches of 1847. 2 * But 

"Cf. Botzenhart, op. cit. f p. 90. The Prussian Diets until 1827 were rather critical of 
the Emancipation. But in 1843 the Rhindand Diet demanded by a 2/3 majority full civil 
rights for the Jews. In 1845 almost half of the members of the Ausschuss (committee) of 
the East Prussian Diet requested complete emancipation. All other diets urged the extension 
of the Emancipation Law of 1812 to all Prussian territories and its complete realization. A 
legislative proposal of King Friedrich Wilhelm IV based upon the idea of the Christian 
state introduced at the United Diet of 1847 was faced by a strong opposition composed of 
liberals and civil servants. This opposition fought attempts to maintain the exclusion of the 
Jews from dvil service and from teaching subjects with religious and ethical implications. 
Though the opposition was defeated, the government was obliged to permit civil marriage 
between Jews and non-Jews. Gf. also Dubnow, op. cit., vol. ix, p. 521 

*Naudh, H. (pseud, for Nordmann), Die Juden und der deutsche Stoat (first ed, 1860; 
12th ed. 1877) . Naudh claimed that the Jews in their contract with Jahwe had declared war 
against all peoples (p. 9) . Though he makes many racialist statements he demands at least 
in theory acceptance of Christianity by Jews. Only then can they be separated from their 
tribal group and become accessible to culture. H. Man's Judenspiegel was published in 1862. 
But Marr won success with his pamphlets only in the late seventies. (Der Sieg des Judentwns 
ueber das Germanentum, Antfsemitischc Hefte, etc.) Dubnow, op. dt., vol. x, p. 18, claims that 
Marr was the son of a Jewish actor. I am unable to find any proof for this statement An 
enemy of the Jews, writing in the fifties, was Wagener, the collaborator of Bismarck. 
According to J. H. Bitter, BeUuchtung der Wagener'schen Schrift Das Judentum und der 
Stoat (Berlin 1857) , he demanded the transportation of all Jews to Palestine, because they 
have no sense for the interests of the European humanity; he denied to Jews dtizensfiip 
rights, etc , I 

With regard to Marc's ancestry, Fritz Zschaeck has proven him to be of pure "Aryan" 
stock, although one of his wives was a Jewess and two others half-Jewish; "War Wilhelm 
Marr ein Jude?" in Weltkampf (May-August 1944). 

* Cf . Dubnow, op. cit., voL ix, p. 56, where there is quoted a speech by young Bismarck 
m the United Diet of 1847, arguing that Jews ought not be admitted into positions of 


he knew, too, that legal emancipation would not mean the complete 
reversal of political and administrative anti-Jewish practices. Though a 
racial test was not applied, the Prussian army remained almost free from 
officers of pure Jewish descent, 27 and higher posts in the administra- 
tion and judiciary were open only to a few baptized Jews, such as von 
Simson, etc. 

The emancipation was accepted as an unalterable fact even by those 
who did not like it, but and- Jewish movements began to emerge only a 
few years after the completion of emancipation. These movements com- 
bined the most varied forms of opposition to the Jews. Until their rise 
after the foundation of the German Reich, antisemitism in Germany was 
largely of two kinds. It was either the product of groups who regarded 
the Jews as not belonging to the German people, and as alien exploiters 
in alliance with a reactionary upper class; such had been the basis of the 
Hep-Hep disorders after 1815. Or it was an affair of intellectuals who 
disliked Jewish writers such as Heine or Boerne 28 and envisioned, as 
Richard Wagner did in his pamphlet against Jewish influence in music, 
the threat that the Jews with their supposedly superficial commercial 
spirit would dominate and debase all of German intellectual life. 29 The 
racialism prepared by a scientist such as Hellweg, 30 who manifestly mis- 
used and distorted Renan's negative characterization of the Semitic spirit, 
and formulated by such philosophers as Duehring, had few conscious ad- 
herents. It was an affair of individuals, whose views did not prevail 
against the general liberal attitude of the educated world. This attitude 

* Cf. Demeter, Karl, Das deutsche Heer und seine Offiziere (Berlin 1931) . Demeter 
discusses (on p. 186f) the attitude of the Prussian officers to the Jews. There was no law 
against acceptance of Jews as officers, but they were excluded, probably on account of racial 
feeling (Rassenempfinden); after 1885 Jews were not promoted even to the rank of officers 
of the reserve. Before 1914 a few baptized Jews were found among Prussian reserve officers. 
The Bavarian practice of accepting Jews as officers in a few cases was, according to Demeter, 
thoroughly disliked in Prussia. Interesting is Demeter's remark that marriages with 
Jewesses were not prevented if the Jewesses were wealthy. 

28 Botzenhart, op. cit. f quotes Pfizer's article on Heine in Deutsche Vierteljahrsschrift 
(1838) , and Ed. Meyer, Gegen L. Boerne. 

39 Karl Richard Ganzer, "Richard Wagner und das Judentum," in Forschungen zur 
Judenfrage, vol. iii, p. 105f., gives a survey of Wagner's antisemitic utterances. Besides the 
well-known Judentum in der Musik, he considers also the less-known remarks in Wagner's 
correspondence with Ludwig II. But the National Socialist admirer of Wagner's anti- 
semitism also quotes a letter of Wagner of 30.12.1880, in which he praises an offer of the 
Jewish opera director, Angelo Neumann, to make his works widely known: "Ein sonderbar 
energischer und mir sehr ergebener Mann. Wunderbare Fuegungen des Schicksals." (p. 118-199) 

80 L. Strack, "Anti-Semitism," in Encyclopedia of Religion and Ethics, vol. i (1928) , quotes 
from v. Hellweg's article in Ausland (1872) . 


compelled even conservatives who disliked the Jews to accept emancipa- 
tion as an irreversible fact. 

The economic crisis of the seventies, which interrupted a period of 
artificial boom, changed this mentality somewhat. Though a Jewish 
leader of the National Liberal party, Lasker, was one of the first to de- 
nounce in 1873 the excesses of over-risky, often fraudulent speculation, 
a literature developed that made the Jews exclusively responsible for it. 31 
Glagau, the editor of the popular Gartenlaube, emphatically proclaimed 
that the Jews were the cause of all social ills. 32 The antisemitic pam- 
phlets of Marr, who is commonly credited with having coined the word 
antisemitism, with their complaints that the Jews dominate and corrupt 
everything and that Germanism has been defeated by Semitism, now 
found eager readers. Conservative circles, even if they denied that they 
were antisemitic, became inclined to use accusations against Jews for 
political purposes. The series of articles by Parrot in the Kreuz-Zeitung, 
the journalistic mouthpiece of the Prussian conservatives, showed that. 
Some Catholic groups represented by the Center deputy, Baron Schor- 
lemer, also made the Jews responsible for all the evils of modern liberal- 
ism and usury. Sensational articles in Germania, the Catholic newspaper 
of Berlin, accused them of being the instigators of aggressively anti- 
Christian secularization and particularly of the anti-Catholic Kultur- 
kampf. The Center deputies Reichensperger and Julius Bachem were 
glad to see the anti-Jewish movement, but the most influential Center 
leader, Windthorst, opposed them: he realized that it would be par- 
ticularly dangerous for Catholics to undermine the status of a minority 
group. 88 The well-known conservative opponent of Bismarck, Constantin 
Frantz, 84 who criticized the new empire as an artificial, anti-traditional 

81 Lasker's speeches were delivered in the Prussian Chamber of Deputies on Jan. 14 and 
Feb. 17, 1873. Of. Wawrzinek, K., Antisemitenparteien (1873-1890) [Historische Studien, 
Heft 168], (1927) p. 7f. Wawrzinek also gives a careful survey of the antisemitic press 
campaign and literature of the seventies. 

M Glagau's series on the "Boersen und Gruendungsschwindel" was published in the 
Gartenlaube from December 1874 to December 1875. This magazine, as Wawrzinek, loc. dt. t 
p. 8 notes, had a wide circulation in petty bourgeois and liberal circles, The Jews were 
characterized as men who will not work, but leave it to others; as usurers exclusively inter- 
ested in the stock exchange, etc. 

**Cf. Frank, W., Hofprediger Adolf Stoecker und die christlichsoziale Bewegung (2nd 
ed. Hamburg 1935) p. 93f. This report on the debate about antisemitism in the Prussian 
Chamber of Deputies (Nov. 20-25, 1881) quotes Windthorst's remark: "Keine Judenhetze, 
aber auch keine Katholikenhetze," and also the story of A. Reichensperger's memoirs, 
according to which Windthorst's views were much opposed in the Center faction. 

84 Constantin Frantz, Dtr Nationolliberalimu>$ und die Judenherrschaft (Munich 1874). 


creation of power politics, identified the Jews with the evil national-liberal 
spirit which permeated the whole Reich of the Iron Chancellor. Enemies 
of Bismarck liked to picture him as dominated by Jews and to denounce 
his regime as a Jewish regime. 85 

But this antisemitic wave appeared as a somewhat eccentric and 
demagogic affair, despite all the anti-Jewish articles in influential papers. 
Antisemitism became acceptable in academic circles only after Heimich 
von Treitschke had published articles on the Jewish question in his 
Preussische Jahrbuecher (1879-80) . 36 It developed into a political move- 
ment only after one of the court chaplains, Adolf Stoecker, had publicly 
attacked the alleged undue influence of secularized Jews. Neither Treit- 
schke nor Stoecker was a racial antisemite. Treitschke opposed the im- 
migration of East-European Jews whose sons would climb to dominant 
positions in German life. He attacked the historian Heinrich Graetz, 
who had assailed eminent Germans for their anti-Jewish attitude. He 
feared that the Jews were forming a clan of their own and would exercise 
a negative, dissolving influence on national life and unity. They must 
therefore be regarded as "our misfortune," as he put it, thus coming a 
slogan which became very popular among antisemites. He recommended 
complete assimilation, whereas racial antisemites regarded assimilation as 
impossible, as a mere attempt at mimicry by parasites. But Treitschke's 
reputation as a national and liberal historian and publicist induced many 
to accept with quiet conscience the belief that the Jews exercised a nega- 
tive influence in German life. 

Court chaplain Stoecker 87 was a typical representative of the con- 

45 The Kreuzzeitung pictured Bismarck as being dependent on the Jews. This accusation 
was used by the bitter enemies of Bismarck who formed the so-called Antikanzlerliga. Its 
most aggressive paper was the Deutsche Eisenbahnzeitung of J. Gehlsen. This paper wrote 
on February 17, 1876, that the Jewish question could be only solved by the removal of the 
present system and its representative (Wawrzinek, op. cit. f p. 11) . 

w On Treitschke cf. Kohn, Hans, in Review of Politics (October 1945) . In his answer to 
Treitschke, Mommsen, Th., Auch em Wort uber wiser Judenthwn (Berlin 1880) , emphasized 
that the claims regarding a mass immigration of Eastern Jews were vastly exaggerated and 
that the German Jews were one of the many components from which the German people 
had been formed: "Was heisst das sie [the Jews] sollen Deutsche werden? Sie sind es ja, 
so gut wie er und ich." Eduard von Hartmann's Das Judenthum in Gegenwart und 
Zukunft (2nd ed. Leipzig 1885) was regarded by many Jews as antisemitic because the author 
did not believe the assimilation was complete, while the antisemites rejected him because of 
his faith in assimilation. Even Treitschke was regarded by the Nazis as too pro-Jewish; 
cf. Bauer, Wilhelm, "Treitschke und die Juden/' in Weltkampf (May- August 1944) . 

87 The most revealing book on Stoecker is that of the National Socialist W. Frank (cf. 
note 55) . Its antisemitic tendency is so obvious that the value judgments can be easily 
corrected. W. Frank's book is used for the description of Stoecker's life and conflicts. 


temporary mixture of unquestioning, narrow Protestant orthodoxy and 
Prussian patriotism. Of poor and humble origin, his early interest in the 
social question was further stimulated by jealousy of such Catholics as 
Bishop von Ketteler, who had anticipated Protestant church leaders in 
recognizing that the rise of the proletariat posed new problems for the 
Christian care of souls. He became a leader of the Berlin Home Mission; 
his duties as a chaplain at the court of Wilhelm I did not occupy much 
of his time. Resolving to fight the rise of anti-Christian, anti-patriotic 
and anti-monarchical socialism in the German capital, he started a series 
of mass meetings and founded a Christian Socialist Workers' party (1878) . 
His public debates with socialists caused a sensation but failed to win 
the workers, who regarded him as a man condescending to the masses 
from the authoritative heights of royalty and nobility. His adherents 
were mostly middle-class people, who were inclined to regard themselves 
as victims of Jewish economic expansion and who resented what they 
regarded as the rootlessness and radicalism of Jewish influence on public 
life, particularly on journalism and politics. In 1879 he began public 
debates on the Jewish question. He advised the Jews to be more humble 
and more modest and to refrain from spreading their anti-religious spirit 
into public life, 88 while disclaiming any dislike of the quiet religious Jew 
or of the converted Jew. The famous leader of Protestant caritative 
works, Pastor Bodelschwingh, even claimed that Stoecker liked the pious 
and retiring Jews. 89 Some public remarks (1881) against the wealth of 
Bismarck's banker, Bleichroeder, caused Stoecker much trouble, for 
Bismarck disliked any meddling in politics by clergymen. The Iron 
Chancellor regarded Stoecker as a dangerous demagogue, as a socialist, 
and even considered the possibility of applying the anti-socialist legisla- 
tion against him. Though the liberal Crown Prince, the future Frederick 
III, despised Stoecker as a barbarous demagogue and called the anti- 
semitic agitation disgraceful, the patronage of Wilhelm I saved the court 
chaplain. The old emperor was pleased to have the "overbearing" Jews 
frightened. In a second crisis, Wilhelm, disturbed by the court chaplain's 

88 Typical is his speech on modern Jewry in Berlin, quoted after the 4th ed., 1880. There 
he accused the Berlin Jews of forming a powerful and wealthy closed community without 
any participation in Christian German life (p. 17). 

*In a letter to Crown Prince Friedrich (Aug. 22, 1885) Bodelschwingh wrote: 
". . . Stoecker ist nicht etwa ein Feind der Juden. Ich moechte behaupten dass die Juden 
wenig so echte Freunde haben als ihn. Stoecker hat nie die Religion der Juden ange- 
griffen , . ." (Frank, op. cit., p. 312) 


brutal methods of agitation, turned against Stoecker, who was this time 
supported by Prince Wilhelm, the future Wilhelm II. 

Strangely enough, however, the radical antisemites were most trouble- 
some for Stoecker. 40 These had formed groups particularly in Berlin and 
Dresden, and Stoecker cooperated with them, for he was completely 
unable to use his success as a speaker for the organization of disciplined 
followers. In these groups racial antisemitism was important; Henrici, 
e.g., one of the Berlin leaders, admired Duehring, and even for such 
conservatives as von Liebermann-Sonnenberg, Stoecker did not go far 
enough. They could not understand Stoecker's refusal to begin an open 
fight for the revocation of the emancipation. In these circles there was 
also much support for radical economic programs which were unaccept- 
able to Stoecker, who after all was connected with the court and could 
not break with the Conservative party. This party resented any social 
and agrarian radicalism which would link "Junkers and Jews" together. 
Radical antisemitism itself was split into several groups: there was a 
middle-class element; there were aristocratic adherents of a feudal past, 
and urban doctrinaires on the one hand, and on the other, romantic 
admirers (Boeckel in Hesse) of a pure Germanic folk past who as 
skillful propagandists sought to win the debt-depressed peasants by op- 
posing Junkers and Jews. 41 

But in spite of all conflicts, which nullified any attempt to organize 
an international antisemitic movement, a foundation was prepared for 
various political groups which succeeded in electing members to the 
Reichstag. Because of the radicalism of these movements and of their 
inclination towards an avowedly un-christian antisemitism, such con- 
servative and orthodox Protestants as Stoecker could not in the long run 
co-operate with them. These movements, however, could not compete 
with the radical social demands of the Social Democrats, whose leaders 

40 Cf. WawEzutek, p. 37, where Stoecker's protests against racial antisemitism but also 
against any Jewish influence on German life are quoted, and p. 51. Gf. also Frank, p. 80L 
For Frank it is a limitation of Stoedcer's that he sided rather with the conservatives than 
with the radical antisemites. 

A Gf . Wsrwrzinek, op. cit. f p. 64f. Boeckel was the first antisemite to be elected a member 
of the Reichstag. He won his victory against Dr. Grimm who, as a Conservative, had repre- 
sented this constituency of Marburg-Frankenstein for a long time. Boeckel openly fought 
the Conservative party which was "led by Junkers and climbers." He announced that he 
was proud to have been the first to demand liberation from Stoecker, the false antisemite. 
Boeckel also quarrelled with such racial but reactionary antisemites as von laebermann who 
criticized his co-operation with left-whig Liberals and Social Democrats in some votes of the 
Reichstag. (Wawrzinek, op. cit., p. 68) 


not only successfully suppressed the antisemitic stirrings of some local 
party groups inclined to identify Jews and capitalism, but denounced 
antisemitism as "the socialism of the stupid" (Bebel) . The antisemitic 
groups were regarded as backward middle-class elements and peasants, 
under the leadership of more or less monomaniacal doctrinaires, who 
substituted hatred of the Jews for all political thinking and action. 
Typical of this attitude were Nietzsche's judgments about his brother-in- 
law Foerster, a leading antisemitic agitator. Nietzsche almost became a 
philosemite in reaction against the narrow-minded fanaticism of his 
sister's husband. 41 * 

Antisemitic demagogic successes were of course possible. Thus in the 
early eighties Bismarck made use of antisemitic agitation in order to 
fight left-wing liberals who had refused to accept his change from free 
trade to a protective tariff policy. 42 In the nineties the antisemitic deputy 
Ahlwardt created a sensation when he denounced Jewish contractors for 
army material. Nationalistic groups disliked Jews; an influential student 
society, Der Verein Deutscher Studenten, organized in 1880, explicitly 
accepted antisemitism. 48 

In Austria racial antisemitism became the basis for the introduction 
of the "Aryan paragraph" which excluded persons of Jewish descent from 
associations for gymnastics. 44 Austrian racial, pan-German antisemites 
under Schoenerer conducted a noisy rather than influential agitation 
against the Hapsburgs and the Catholic Church. Their activities have a 
general importance only because they influenced Hitler. 45 A middle-class 
antisemitism, traditionalist and economic in its roots, and much less 

** Nietzsche's philosemitism, interpreted as an expression of his hatred of the Germans, 
is contrasted with J. Burckhardt's moderate antisemitism by von Martin. A., Nietzsche und 
Burckhardt (3rd ed, Basel 1945) . 

"Cf. Wawrzinek, op. cit. f who is inclined to believe that Bismarck helped to support anti- 
semitic agitation in Berlin by his famous secret fund, the so-called ReptUienfond. But that 
was done only in order to fight the left-wing Liberals (the Fortschrittlei) for -whom many 
Jews voted. As the antisemites had not the expected electoral success, they were promptly 
forgotten by Bismarck; even during the period of his secret help to antisemitism, the Iron 
Chancellor had publicly congratulated Prof. Goldschmidt who fought the influence of the 
Fortschrittler among the Jews. 

" Of . Heuss, Theodor, Friedrich Neumann (Stuttgart 1937) p. 40f . The Verein aimed at 
the combination of a nationalism above all parties with the fight against Jewish influence. 
Tt had originated with a drive to get signatures for the antisemitic petition. 

* Cf. Much (Buchnow) , 50 Jdkre antfsemitische Bewegung. 

Cf. Karbach, Oscar, "The Founder of Political Antisemitism: Georg von Schoenerer;' 
in Jewish Social Studies, voL vii (1945) 3-30. 


nationalist and doctrinaire, was exploited by the skillful politician Lueger. 
Originally a liberal, Lueger became the most popular mayor of the 
Austrian capital, partly because Emperor Franz Josef opposed him and 
refused to approve his election. Lueger opposed "Jewish influence" but 
was no fanatical doctrinaire prepared to crush and exterminate the Jews. 

In spite of the alliance between German nationalism and racial anti- 
semitism in Austria, expressed in the agitation against secularized Jews 
by Stoecker, and in spite of the election of antisemitic deputies and some 
sensational campaigns, such as the revival of the ritual murder charge 
in Germany (Xanten case, 1891) , antisemitism did not become an influ- 
ential political and social force in Imperial Germany. But it is true that 
the Jews as the Nazi historian, Frank, notes 46 were kept out of all 
political and military positions in the Reich of the Hohenzollerns. The 
concessions made to some baptized Jews only prove that this anti-Jewish 
policy was based upon the unconscious acceptance of the idea of the 
Christian state. The modern secularized German state persisted in its 
dislike of Jews in positions of authority, but it rejected the demand of 
the antisemites expressed for instance in the petition of 1881 47 that 
this sentiment and practice be explicitly legalized. 

It would be wrong, on the other hand, to regard F. Naumann's 
development as typical of German nationalism. 48 Naumann started his 
public career in the eighteen-eighties as a co-founder of the anti-Jewish 
society mentioned above, Verein Deutscher Studenten. As a disciple of 
Stoecker, he regretted the Jewish emancipation, though he believed that 
it should not be revoked. After some acquaintance with Jews he recog- 
nized that the social question was not identical with the Jewish question. 
Thereafter he urged that Jews be judged only as individuals and finally 
argued that German national greatness consisted precisely in its power 
of assimilating various elements. 49 Though even the anti-Polish Ost- 

* Cf. Frank, op. cit., p. 240. 

C. Dubnow, op. cit., vol. x, p. S2f. This petition with 300,000 signatures was presented 
to Bismarck in March 1881, and remained unanswered. Its four main demands were: (1) 
limitation of Jewish immigration; (2) dismissal of Jews from all important civil service 
positions, particularly of Jewish judges; (3) exclusion of Jews from teaching in grammar 
schools and their strict limitation in high schools and universities; (4) a special census of 
Jews. The petition mentioned racial qualities as the sources of the evil and corrupting 
Jewish influence. 

* Heuss, op. cit., p. llff. 
< Heuss, o/>. <#., p. 312. 


marken Verein and the pan-Germans were not in principle racial anti- 
semites the leader of the pan-Germans, the geographer Hasse, distin- 
guished East-European from German Jews, a more or less outspoken 
intellectual and social antipathy against Jews prevailed. Walter Rathenau 
and the baptized publicist Maximilian Harden, 50 both of whom were to 
become victims of antisemitic attacks, themselves gave a dear expression 
of these feelings. Both of them criticized what they called Jewish anti- 
Germanism and excessive Jewish influence in public life, especially in 
intellectual and journalistic circles. 

Cultural Antisemitism Under Wilhelm II 

The antipathy to Jews which prevailed did not, however, involve 
admiration of proponents of thoroughgoing antisemitism. A historian 
of literature like A. Bartels, who discovered Jewish influence everywhere 
in German life and attacked it relentlessly, was regarded as a crackpot; 
nor were the works of Fritsch, who devoted all his life to founding 
antisemitic organizations and publishing houses, and was the editor of 
the antisemitic bible, Handbuch zur Judenfrage, ever quoted by respect- 
able writers and scholars. In 1892 the Conservative party included in its 
platform a plank directed against "destructive Jewish influence," 51 but 
this did not indicate a design or even a desire to take away citizenship 
rights from Jews. From his youth Wilhelm II was inclined to violent 
antisemitic outbursts. Yet even he did not refrain from associating pub- 
licly with Ballin and Rathenau, and because of this, uncompromising 
antisemites called him the "senu-imperator." 

00 National Socialist antisemites frequently reported these attitudes. E.g., W. Frank in his 
article on Harden, "Apostata und das WUhelminische Deutschland," in Forschungen zur 
Judenfrage, vol. iii (1938) p. 11: "Die Abneigung, die manche hervorragenden Vertreter 
seiner Rasse gegen 'Handelsleute und Juden als seiche' nach dnem Worte Boemes zur Schau 
tragen, hat er, besonders in seinen juengeren Jahren zur Schau getragen." And Verschur, in 
his artide, "Rassenbiologie der Juden/' loc. dt. t p. 141, quotes the sentence of Walter 
Rathenau: "Seltsame Visfon^Auf maerkischem Sand cine asiatische Horde." This passage 
from W. Rathenau's Imprcssiontn (Leipzig 1902) is also quoted in the National Socialist 
publication, Dte Judtn in Deutschland (3rd ed. Munich 1996) p. IS. Cf. Harden on Jewish 
money-power in Frank, W., AftSre Dreyfus (Hamburg 1939) p. 34. Gregor Schwartz- 
Bostunitsch opens his Juedischer Imperialismus (5th ed. 1939) with a quotation from 
Rathenau. GL also Frank, W., "Walter Rathenau und die blonde Rasse," in Forschungcn 
zur Judenfrage, vol. iv (1940) 9-C7: "Walter Rathenau's very bodily self was affected by the 
inferiority feeling of his race." (p. 20) 

111 Cf. Frank, W. 9 op. cit., p. 259. Shortly before this the antisemite Ahlwarclt had inflicted 
an overwhelming defeat upon the Conservative candidate in the traditionally Conservative 
constituency of Friedeberg Arnswalde. He was elected by a vote of 6,973 to 


Crude racial antisemites, who pictured the Jews as the evil and tried 
to form a kind of universal anti-Jewish front, which would rise above all 
differences, were not highly regarded in the circles of Besitz und BHdung, 
which ruled the state and dominated society. Duehring was completely 
forgotten, even the romantic folk antisemitism, according to which the 
Jew was unassimilable, and Wagnerian antisemitism were not directly 
influential forces. Yet there was a powerful and sophisticated antisemitic 
tradition. It was usual to identify the Jews with vulgarity, superficial 
activities, and an inability to understand the real depth of the German 
soul. P. de Lagarde, who was a respected critic of modern German life, 
held the opinion that a German revival would require not only the 
substitution of a German faith for the Christian churches but also the 
elimination of Jewish influence. 52 Although his views were not widely 
accepted, far he was thought of more as an outsider, he typified the 
tendency to ascribe a particular mission and religion to the Germanic 
soul. The consequences of such attitudes were often overlooked, for 
they were opposed to Christian traditionalism, with which antisemites 
appeared more or less connected, despite their anti-Christian and revo- 
lutionary agitation. 

The most successful and representative expression of these attitudes 
was Houston Stewart Chamberlain's Foundations of the XlXth Century** 
In it the Germanic-Aryan race and its mission were extolled; the Semitic 
race, and particularly its Jewish derivative, for the Jews were for 
Chamberlain only half-Semites, 64 were deprecated. The book was writ- 
ten by an apparently well-educated and widely-read man. It could be 
found in all public and private libraries, including those of Jews. Cham- 
berlain was a Wagnerian, who rose above the somewhat sectarian claims 
of the Wagner disciples of the Bayreuther Blactter, as well as an admirer 

Paul de Lagarde, Deutsche Schriften (5th ed. Munich 1990). The preface to the first 
edition is dated 1885. Characteristic of de Lagarde's attitude towards the Jews is the lecture 
of 1853, "Ueber die gegenwartigen Aufgaben der deutschen Politik" (p. 18&): the Jews are 
a nation in the nation and their national character it produced by their religious tradition, 
De Lagarde apparently rejected crude racialism but believed that Jews can be "melted down" 
(p. 26) in the German nation only if Judaism disappears; this can, happen only after the 
Protestant and Catholic Churches have made place for a new German, truly Christian religion. 

On Chamberlain, cf. E. Seillfere's book (Paris 1917) . The Foundations will be quoted 
according to thf 13th German edition published in 1919. 

* Chamberlain, Foundations, voL i, p. 441, 'characterizes the Jews as hybrids, as products 
of a mixture between incompatible racial types. He is manifestly hrftomoed by Gobtaeau'i 
belief that radii mixture means decay. 


of Goethe, Kant, Renan and Voltaire. 55 He was not dominated by a 
narrow-minded, orthodox Lutheranism, which made Stoecker unaccept- 
able to most members of the educated class; he was adept in presenting 
an individualized spiritual interpretation of Chrises message. Though 
he believed in Germany's mission, he emphasized at least in the years 
before World War Ipublicly that he was above all the politics of his 
day and the strife of parties. His brand of antisemitism was embarrassing 
for those to whom an antisemite was an illiterate barbarian with no 
intellectual interests and esthetic taste, a more or less skillful and cynical 
demagogue (though closer analysis indicated that Chamberlain was a 
literate crackpot) . He mentioned occasionally that he was opposed to 
making the Jews scapegoats, 5e and he held aloof from the vulgar anti- 
semites. On the other hand, his analysis of the dominant role of Jews 
in the modern world ascribed to them the same destructive function as 
did antisemitic writings. While in his letters Chamberlain emphasized 
that he had Jewish friends and even enjoyed business-relations with 
decent Jews, 67 he attacked especially in his correspondence with Wilhelm 
II Jewish influence as intolerable and used the most surprising argu- 
ments. He told the Emperor that the majority of democrats and a large 
number of professors of theology were Jews or of Jewish descent. 58 
Though he was much more widely read than Lagarde and in addition 
to Wilhelm II had many influential admirers, Chamberlain's real political 
influence did not develop until he was already somewhat forgotten. He 
is of permanent significance as the inspirer of the Nazi world outlook, 
a vulgarized and barbarized version of his thought, which resulted in 
the justification of the utmost "realism" for the sake of an idealism 
beyond all time and space. The best race is at the same time the most 
deeply religious. The fight for it and against the "counter race" is a 
holy mission. It is characteristic that Chamberlain, after he had been 
discredited for his pan-Germanic pamphlets of World War I, old and 

88 Cf. his autobiography, Lebenswege meines Denkens. 

09 Foundations, vol, i, p. 19E, where he protested against the "ridiculous and revolting 
inclination to make the Jew the general scapegoat for all vices of our time." The Jewish 
danger is not created by the Jews but by ourselves, is an illness of our own soul, etc. 

w Chamberlain, H. St., Briefe 1882-1924, (Munich 1928) . Letter to L. von Schroeder of 
Dec. 26, 1907: "Ich selber habe Hebe und verehrte juedische Freunde gehabt und finde 
namentlich den geschaeftlichen Verkehr rait redlichen und geschickten Juden besonders 
angenehm." (p. 169) After this sentence Chamberlain developed a program for excluding 
Jews from cultural life ("aus unserem Kulturleben ausschalten'*) . (p. 171) 

w Briefe, vol ii, p, 164 (letter of February 20, 1902): "Unsere Demokraten [sind] in der 
Mehrzahl und unsere Theologieprofessorea in grosser Zahl Juden oder JudenstaentoUnge," 


paralyzed, prophesied to Hitler his political mission as a leader of the 
German people. 59 

Chamberlain's antisemitism was, nevertheless, in fact rather vague. 
If he liked certain Jews, then they were not Jews and were free of the 
traits of the Jewish race (or racial mixture) . The Foundations was 
dedicated to a man whose ancestry would not have met the requirements 
of Nazi legislation. Occasionally he even conceded that there could be 
a truly humanized Jew. 60 Many aspects of his work were admired by 
liberals; A, von Harnack wrote enthusiastic letters to Chamberlain about 
his Goethe, although he rejected his view of the Jews as a blend of 
incompatible racial elements, brought and held together by power-hungry 
priests, and separated from the fundamental trends of European civiliza- 
tion, which was dominated by Germanic peoples. Chamberlain regarded 
the Latins and Slavs as of Germanic origin; later, however, he viewed 
all opposition to Germany's power as an expression of decay and hate 
of Germanism; he considered the English particularly as becoming more 
and more de-Germanized. It was typical of Chamberlain to misuse 
metaphysical and idealistic arguments for advancing power politics and 
covering up prejudices. 

This "cultural" antisemitism, publicly aloof from all alliance with 
the vulgar, mass variety, only in a private letter did Chamberlain venture 
to recommend Fritsch as a source of information on Jewish influence- 
looked upon the Jews as more or less responsible for the decadence of 
modern life. They were the journalists who influenced and debased 
public opinion. They were the originators of evil capitalism, as Sombart's 
The Jew and Modern Economic Life seemed to prove for many readers. 
They were destructive agitators and demagogues. In their intellectual 
activities the Jews, it was claimed, exploited and misused the productive 
work of others. Although this attitude aroused a violent antisemitism in 
some groups, e.g., in the German Youth movement, it was a vague feeling 
and a non-political attitude. An attempt to be consistent and to imple- 
ment it with a program for the exclusion of Jews from public life, such 
a concentration of interest on the Jewish question was regarded as some- 

* Brief e, vol. ii, letter to Hitler of Oct. 7, 1925. Chamberlain wrote that Hitler is not a 
fanatic, because he wishes to persuade, and he stated: "Dass Deutschland in der Stunde 
seiner hoechsten Not sich einen Hitler gebiert, das bezeugt sein Lebendigsein." 

""Foundations, vol. i, p. 555. Contradicting racialist statements, Chamberlain declared 
that a Jew who has abandoned the idea of Judaism has "ipso facto also left the Jewish 
nationality determined by a belief." On p. 554 a Jew is defined by a peculiar kind of feeling 
and of thinking; non-Jews can become Jews by reading Jewish papers, meeting Jews, etc 


what embarrassing. Such a book as Weininger's Sex and Character (1903) , 
which presented the Jews as men without loyalty and substance, rather 
like the English, or like women, two other objects of the author's 
hatred, was considered eccentric and not only because it was written by 
a Jew whose self-hatred finally and logically drove him to suicide. 

To summarize, the situation under Wilhelm II was as follows. Anti- 
semitic mass-agitation remained a parochial affair. The Center party, 
recognizing that it was dangerous to start an agitation against a minority 
group, had suppressed antisemitic tendencies which had appeared during 
the Kulturkampf. There was no Lueger among German Catholic leaders, 
although there were some complaints against the anti-Christian writings 
and attitudes of Jews. Conservatives and agrarian organizers did not 
believe that the Jewish question was a central and decisive one. Cultural 
and intellectual antisemitism was an attitude without a political and 
legal program. Quite typical was the position of Wilhelm II who, in spite 
of all his outbursts against Jewish Frechheit, did not even think of allying 
himself with antisemites, as Tsar Nicholas II did. Radical mass anti- 
semitism was a possibility as the result of the agitations of Boekel, among 
others, against Junkers and Jews. 61 But this was blocked by the popular 
identification of social radicalism with the Social Democrats whose leaders 
had suppressed all antisemitic tendencies. There may have been some 
labor leaders who resented the influence of such foreign-born Jews in the 
German Socialist party as Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Radek, but they 
were unable to give public expression to their feelings. 

Antisemitism During World War I and the Weimar Republic 

The outbreak of World War I appeared to end antisemitic agitation. 
The antisemitic Staatsbuerger Zeitung was banned as a violator of the 
Burgfriede, the truce among all parties, symbolized by Wilhelm II's 
words: "Henceforth, I know no parties only Germans/' Prominent Jews 
played a role in the prosecution of the war; the War Ministry accepted 
the services of Walter Rathenau for economic organization; Haber was 
a leading figure in the development of chemical warfare. But soon the 
situation changed. Complaints were made that -Jews were too powerful 
in the various Kriegsgesellschafteti -and that they did not have a pro- 
portionate share of dangerous military jobs. In 1916, when the Prussian 

"The antiacmidc vote for the Reichstag: 1901-461,000; 1912 f76,m flat 
never large enough to taw .politipl 


War Ministry compiled statistics showing the religious groups within the 
armed forces, the figures were believed to be serving antisemitic pur- 
poses, 62 Yet there were Jews who supported extreme nationalism; Prof. 
Ludwig Bernhard, of Jewish origin, belonged to the circle around the 
pan-German industrialist Hugenberg and some Jews approved the agita- 
tion of Admiral Tirpitz for unrestricted submarine warfare. The rightist 
groups, nevertheless, hinted that Jewish influence was on the side of those 
working for a moderate and, therefore, in their eyes, a bad and anti- 
German peace. In particular the Independent Socialist party, which had 
refused to vote the war budget and in 1916 had broken away from the 
majority Socialists, was identified with the Jews. It was overlooked that 
a Jew of Russian origin, Helphand (Parvus) , edited the most ultra- 
nationalistic socialist publication, the weekly Glocke, whose contributors 
included Winning and Krieck, later members of the National-Socialist 
party, as well as the Prussian Socialist leader Heilmann, who died in a 
concentration camp of the Third Reich. 

The collapse of Imperial Germany intensified the antisemitic agitation 
which had begun during the war. This fact was due to a variety of causes. 
First, there was the increase of antisemitism among the ruling classes of 
the old monarchical system. Among them were many who, with Wilhelm 
II, were inclined to blame the Jews for the defeat and make them respon- 
sible for all domestic defeatist propaganda. It is characteristic that after 
the war the antisemitism expressed in the letters of Chamberlain became 
more violent and concrete. He suggested not to hang the Jews but to 
regard them as aliens* and subject to expulsion as such. 68 Secondly, the 
Jews were widely believed to have profited from the war, which the 
German people had lost and which had in particular affected the chances 
of the previous ruling classes for a career and advancement. The demo- 
cratic Weimar constitution opened all government positions to the Jews, 
in practice as well as in theory, and presently most fantastic stories 
about the influx of Jews into official jobs gained currency. The fact that 
for a few months Jewish politicians played a role in the government, 
replacing those of the old regime, was not forgotten, though these men 
soon disappeared from leading positions. The Bavarian Prime Minister, 
Kurt Eisner, was assassinated and Hirsch, who had been the Prussian 
Prime Minister, accepted a minor Job in a municipality. Democratic 

* Dubnmv, op. cH., vol. x, p. 5HK 

m Brief e, vol. ii, p. 72. Letter of Jan. 7, 1919 to Jfetofc vott 


ideology was pictured as Jewish, as the victory of an anti-German, Semitic 
mentality, even though the Republic attempted to relate itself to the 
German democratic tradition of 1848. Thirdly, the communist danger 
was identified with the Jews; the Bolsheviks were pictured as a Jewish 
gang. Characteristic of this agitation was the false rumor that the wealthy 
Jew, Rathenau, had married the sister of Radek, who was reputed to have 
been sent by the Jews of Moscow to bolshevize Germany. The Protocols of 
the Elders of Zion began their successful career. 64 Bolsheviks, Jews and 
Masons and on occasion Jesuits and ultramontanists as well were iden- 
tified as and transformed into interchangeable heads of world conspiracies. 
The most famous representative of this school was General Ludendorff. 65 

Nationalism and antisemitism had been sometimes linked yet very 
often dissociated in the German Reich of Bismarck and Wilhelm II; now 
they became more and more often combined. And even more important 
was the fact that antisemitism now assumed the character of a revolution- 
ary weapon, of a most important instrument of opposition against existing 
social conditions. It is noteworthy that the significance of this develop- 
ment of postwar antisemitism was not fully appreciated at first in 
Germany. The antisemitism of 1918-1924, from the collapse of the 
Hohenzollern Empire to the stabilization of the mark, seemed to be only 
a kind of foam on a stormy surface, which would eventually settle down. 

The various nationalistic, secret and military organizations were all 
antisemitic The symbol of the swastika appeared on the helmet of 
Captain Ehrhardt's Brigade which participated in the Kapp putsch 
(1920) . The Weimar Republic, with its alleged gullibility in regard to 
foreign powers and its ruling "anti-national" parties, was pictured as a 
"Jew Republic." Songs demanding the blood of Jews became popular. 
The Deutsch-Volkische Schutz und Trutz Bund, a radical anriseniitic 
organization, won many supporters, though an official prohibition de- 
stroyed it or rather, caused it to be replaced by other organizations. 

"The best American survey of the history of this forgery is given by Curtiss, J. S., An 
Appraisal of the Protocols of Zion (New York 1942) . The German Catholic Bishops restated 
the origin of the "Protocols" correctly in their refutation of Rosenberg's Myth of the 
Twentieth Century, published as a supplement to various diocesan papers during the Nazi 

48 A summary of the views of the general- is to be found in his and his wife's volume: 
Die Judenmacht, ihr Wtsen und Ende (Munich 1988) . Therein it is stated that the Mascms 
are today Jews (p, 59), that the baptism of children has a Jewish meaning, but that 
Christian suggestions have today no influence on those who really know their radaj inherited 
substance (p. 


Secret nationalistic societies were favored and protected in Munich by 
officials of the Bavarian government. The Bavarian Socialist Prime 
Minister, Hoffmann, was compelled to resign during the Kapp putsch 
which succeeded in the Bavarian capital, though not spectacularly, 
whereas it dearly failed in Berlin. Foreign Minister Walter Rathenau 
became a victim of antisemitic agitation, which described him as an 
agent of the Elderc of Zion, of "Jewish World Capitalism," bolshevism, 
etc. He was assassinated (1922) and a similar attempt on Harden's life 
failed. Hans Blueher, a somewhat esoteric writer, who, however, enjoyed 
a wide influence among the younger generation, especially in the youth 
movement, forgot that he had supported the Jewish student Joel when 
the latter was excluded from the University of Berlin by Rector von 
Willamowitz-Moellendorf, the old adversary of Nietzsche, and published 
in 1922 a pamphlet, Secessio Judaica, describing the necessity of a separa- 
tion between Jews and the German people, which, he claimed, was then 
taking place. Hindenburg was a mythical expression of German sub- 
stance, he argued, but no service to the German people would make them 
overlook the Jewish blood of Minister Rathenau. 86 

But this antisemitism was not recognized as really important by the 
parties backing or opposing the government. It was seen as a product of 
resentment in turbulent times and of a lack of maturity. There were no 
organized antisemitic parties to win electoral campaigns. It is true that 
the successors of the Conservatives, the German Nationalists, put some 
remarks against destructive influences in their platform. Miss von Gierke, 
the daughter of the well-known historian of law and of a mother of 
Jewish origin, was compelled by the pressure of some racialists to abandon 
her parliamentary career as a German Nationalist member of the Reich- 
stag. On the other hand the Volkischen, the racialists, such men as Graefe, 
Wulle and von Kenning, had to quit the party (1922) , while another 
rabid nationalist, general director Hugenberg, employed Jews in his 
various enterprises. His leftist enemies were fond of pointing out that 
one of his leading newspaper editors was a Dr. Breslauer. . 

The Antisemitism of the Nazis 

The importance of Adolf Hitler and his antisemitic agitation was not 
realized. Hitler appeared as one of the nationalist agitators who, sup- 

99 Later he became more openly antisemitic, accusing Jews of being responsible for modern 
secularization and humanitarianism; e.g., in his book Der Kampf Israels gegen die christlichen 
Gueter (Hamburg 1991). 


ported by some Bavarian officials and Reichswehr officers, flourished in 
Munich after the collapse of the shortlived Soviet Republic, which had 
been established in a somewhat farcical way after the assassination of Kurt 
Eisner. 07 He seemed to be an agent of army circles whose exponent was 
Captain Roehm. These circles did not like the republic, which was held 
responsible for the humiliating Peace of Versailles. Its representatives 
were despised democratic and socialist politicians. Through such men 
as the nationalistic and antisemitic poet, Dietrich Eckart, and through 
such Baltic nationalistic refugees as von Scheubner Richter and Alfred 
Rosenberg, Hitler was connected with pan-German circles. Members of 
one of these circles had been arrested and executed as hostages during 
the last days of the Munich Soviet Republic, some of whose leaders tried 
to imitate the Paris Commune. His connections with the Munich police 
president, Poehner, and with Amtmann Frick were most valuable, and 
these men rendered important services to the rising National Socialist 
Workers' party. Hitler, although he had joined it only as member 
number 7, soon became undisputed leader, after having pushed its 
founder, Drexel, into the background. The program of this party resumed 
old antisemitic demands: Jews cannot be citizens; Jews who have im- 
migrated since 1914 must be expelled; the Jews must be regarded as 
guests, etc.; Jewish enterprises, particularly the department stores, must 
be expropriated, etc. The speeches of Hitler accused the Jews of being 
responsible for both parasitic capitalism and destructive communism; 
the Jews were the exploiters of German defeat and instigators of revolu- 
tions for their own profit. 88 

All these demands and views were not remarkable for their originality 
they were self-evident in all nationalistic circles; what was remarkable 
was the demagogic and oratorical skill with which they were presented. 
These tricks won Hitler great success not only in mass meetings attended 
by the Munich middle class but also in society circles. He was introduced 
to H. St. Chamberlain in Bayreuth a proof of his connection with the 
Wagnerians-and to General Ludendorff, who after the Kapp putsch had 
moved to the more hospitable environment of the Bavarian capital. 

"The best-known biography of Hitler is that of Konrad Heiden, Der Fuehrer (New York 
1944) , which does not completely supersede Heiden's History of National Socialism (New 
York 1935) . Of . alto my articles, "The Sources of Hitler's Power/' in Review of JMtofei 
(OcL 1943) and "Hitler the Simplifier of German Nationalism," loc, cit. July 1945), 

*Cf. Baynes, Norman, H., ed., The Speeches of Adolf Hitler, April 1922*August 1939 
(London 1942) 2 vole* The section on the Jews contains only a small part of Hitler's anti- 
Semitic utterances. 



LudendorfE was at this time regarded as the most important figure of 
the nationalistic movement in active opposition to the Weimar Re- 
public. 6 * But only after the Hitler putsch (November 1923) did the 
views of General Ludendorff become universally known. Under the 
influence of Dr. von Kemnitz, whom he married after divorcing his first 
wife (who was apparently of Jewish descent) , he developed a system 
which explained not only the German defeat but everything in history 
in terms of the devilish influence of "super-state" (ueberstaatUche) 
powers: Jews, Masons, Jesuits, who deceive and destroy the people. In 
the long run he lost his influence not only because of his quarrelsome 
character and domineering behavior but also because of his lack of respect 
for tradition. He attacked the Bible as a Jewish book, he accused the 
Mason Goethe of having caused the murder of Schiller, and he opposed 
Hindenburg. He had a naive, monomaniacal and boxing belief in his 
ability to discover secret symbols and their real meaning. But before 
1924 Ludendorff was a universally respected figure, the great general of 
World War I rather than the leader of a small but noisy sect, the 
Tannenberg Bund. 70 

In 1923 Hitler's first attempt to seize power failed. He tried to 
exploit the national excitement in Bavaria, where the government, con- 
trolled by conservative Catholics, also believed that the end of the 
Weimar Republic in Berlin was imminent, His putsch did not 
succeed because he was abandoned by the regular army under General 
von Lossow and by the administration under von Kahr; both men were 
unwilling to accept his authority and were offended by the illegal and 
violent methods by which he tried to force their consent. 

Not until almost ten years later did Hitler become master of Germany, 
upon his appointment as chancellor by President von Hindenburg. The 
legal mind was now satisfied. The appointment was made after he had 
succeeded in organizing a mass party with a strong representation in the 
Reichstag. In September 19 SO had occurred the fateful elections which 
revealed to the world the extent of the spell under which Hitler held the 
masses, for 107 National Socialist deputies were elected. 

Chamberlain remarks in his letter to Hitler: "Dau der grossartige Ludendorff rich offien 
Ihnen anschliesst and fich xu der Bewegung bekennt, die von Xhnen ausgeht: welch hcniidtt 
Bestaetigung." (Bria/*, vol ii, p. 126) 

"The attack* in Hitler's Mein Kmmpf agriart a sectarian tactic of certain ftdtish drdes 
which endangered their political success by attacking openly die Christian ^yfffhff, were 
manifestly directed against Ludendorff, though the name of the general Is i 


What role did antisemitisin play in this success? In 1927 Wawrzinek, 
in his useful study of the rise of the antisemitic parties in Germany 
during the seventies and eighties, expressed the opinion that the anti- 
semitic agitators had been wrong in their belief that a radical anti- 
semitism would unite the most diverse political groups. 71 He concluded 
that differences regarding political and social questions could not be 
overcome by simply opposing the Jews and their influence. In fact the 
early antisemitic movement in Germany had split; the necessary unity 
of action was never achieved. Moritz Busch's program 7 * of forming an 
antisemitic movement above all religious and political differences re- 
mained a pious wish without any chance of realization. But Hitler suc- 
ceeded in building up a strongly organized movement which used racial 
antisemitism as the binding ideology. Surely there were other decisively 
important causes for his success his charismatic personality which he 
institutionalized in the leadership principle, his shrewd choice of sub- 
ordinate leaders, the incompetence of his adversaries and competitors 
inside and outside the nationalistic camp but all that does not reduce 
the role of antisemitism. Why did Hitler win under the banner of the 
antisemitic credo? 

Hitler's credo is most elementary. The Jews are a parasitic and inferior 
counter race. They exploit and defile; they are incapable of anything 
positive, for even their unity is a purely external bond imposed upon 
them by their adversaries; to fight them means to realize the will of God. 
These pseudo-mythical views were combined with some . pseudo-Dar- 
winistic considerations. In the struggle for existence the fittest must win, 
must subject the weak to his will and exterminate the parasites. Jews 
are unassimilable aliens, unalterable enemies of all good races. Their aim 
is world exploitation; the Protocols of the Elders of Zion must be true 
because they are opposed by the Jewish press. Jews are communists as 
well as capitalists, etc. Hitler used a direct, brutal approach, full of hate 
and contempt. In exploiting instinctive prejudice he won applause by 
means of coarse and abusive satirical remarks. There is no sophistication 
and no attempt to appear as a humanitarian, 35 a well-educated and 

Wawrzinek, op. tit., p. 88: ". . . der Ausgangspunkt das poQtischcn Mtisemkiwm (war] 
ein Irrtum, die Gegensafttze in alien audcren poUtiichen Frags* licsstn skh niche dutch den 
Antisemitismus wberwuuten." 

"Wawnlndc, op. cit., p. IOC., who believes that Busch's defense o racial antiscmttissa 
wa the result tf a jnfeuadmtanfiUng of Bismarck's wishes. Busch wt* used as a jmuntfstic 
mouthpiece by the Iron Chancellor. 


detached scholar. Hitler was not inclined to longwinded proofs and to 
the deciphering of mysterious symbols, which so often made the books 
and speeches of other antisemites boring. He did not display the dry 
pseudo-scholarship of a Fritsch, the editor of the Hammer. Hitler took 
the conclusions of this antisemitic literature for granted and was not 
interested in making a personal contribution to it. 

But precisely this direct, elementary racial antisemitism, completely 
sure of itself, free from all appearance of hesitation and doubt, relieved 
of all need of proof, gave Adolf Hitler access to the most diverse groups. 
Unlike Stoecker, Hitler was not a conservative who primarily fought 
liberalism, socialism, modern secularization as symbolized and represented 
in and by Jewry. He was a revolutionary who used antisemitism as a 
potent means of winning adherents, of paralyzing adversaries and of 
symbolizing his real aims. 

Hitler realized that in the period after 1918 racial, radical anti- 
semitism could win both groups, those influenced by the more moderate 
views of Stoecker as well as those which had remained inaccessible to the 
orthodox pastor with his opposition to secularism. Walter Frank, the 
National Socialist biographer of Stoecker, has correctly pointed out that 
the failure of the court chaplain was primarily the result of his connection 
with upper-class conservative society. 7 * He could not become a radical 
and win control of the masses. Hitler, of course, was not hampered by the 
environment of Stoecker. He knew how to exploit the leading conserva- 
tive and reactionary groups of society, but the lite were now in opposi- 
tion to the existing political regime. They hated the Weimar Republic 
and believed that all means of fighting this regime of evil politicians and 
incompetent upstarts were justified. Hitler's enemies, the defenders of 
Jews, were pictured simply as defenders of "the anti-German Jew 
republic." When Hitler's antisemitism seemed to be going too fer, it was 
claimed that such clear, unrestrained language and such an extreme 
attitude were necessary in a man who dealt with the masses. Hitler him- 
self in Mein Kampf satirized those professors and intellectuals who did 
not realize that only simplification and fanatical onesidedness could win 

78 Frank, op. rit., p. 240: "Dass Stoecker die Herrschaft ueber [die antisemitische Bewegung] 
nicht hatte behaupten koennen, lag in seiner mangelnden Begabung als Organisator und 
Parteifuehrer ebenso begruendet wie in der Doppelseitigkeit dieses Lebens, das mit den 
Maechten des Alten in Kirche und Staat Ttfie auch mit den aus dem Schoss der sozialen Revo- 
lution des 19. Jahrhunderts aufsteigenden demokratischen Maechten sich verbunden 
fuehlte . . ." 


the masses. 7 * The masses yearned to be dominated and swept away by 
emotions. They had no appreciation for persuasion and discussion. 
Thus Hitler's primitive anti-Jewish mythology was not resented by those 
who saw in him the necessary instrument for the winning of the masses. 
These conservative haters of the Weimar Republic did not realize that 
they themselves would become victims of Hitler's unlimited will to 
power. The Third Reich may be dated as beginning when Hitler could 
freely use his power, with the antisemitic legislation of April 1933 7B which 
applied "Aryan" descent as a criterion for participation in public life; 
it ended in 1944-1945 accompanied by executions of generals and Junkers, 
who had tried unsuccessfully to prevent Hitler from compelling the 
German people to follow him into total destruction and staggering defeat. 
Hitler's radical antisemitism was in accord with the change in the 
position of the flite of Imperial Germany after November 1918, i.e., after 
the collapse of the monarchies. Hitler's "Jewish November criminals" 
played the role of villains whose evil character could be invoked to 
explain and to condemn that change. The officer of the imperial regime 
often did not like the Jews but was not much concerned about them 
even when he grumbled about aggressive, anti-militaristic Jewish jour- 
nalists and financial robbers. After the war this officer was deprived of 
his status; the young officer who did not get from the republic the 
generous pension which General Ludendorff and his colleagues received 
was faced by a social and economic abyss. Thus antisemitism could 
become conscious, virulent and aggressive. Who was responsible for 
everything? The naivet and weakness of the German leaders prevented 
them from appraising correctly the alleged perfidy of the Jewish 

* Hitler, A., Mein Kampf, translated by K. Manheim (Boston 1945) p. 180: "AH propa* 
ganda must be popular and its intellectual level must be adjusted to the most limited 
intelligence among those it's addressed to ... the art of propaganda lies in understanding 
the emotional ideas of the great masses." 

n Useful though obviously dated is the survey of the antisemitic legislation in Janowsky, 
Oscar I., International Aspects of German Racial Policies (New York 1997) p, 142-228. For 
the years prior to the outbreak of World War H see Weinryb, B. D-, Jewish Emancipation 
under Attack. [Pamphlet series: Jews and the Post World War IT] (New York 1942) p. 381; 
the impressive but brief survey of Parkes, James, The Jewish Problem in the Modern World 
[London 1939] ch. viii: "The Catastrophe in Germany." Indispensable is Lemkin, R., Axis 
Rule in Occupied Europe (Washington 1944), especially for the application of Nazi anti- 
semitism outside Germany and for the methods of extermination which Lemkin calls 
"genocide," Anaong Nad publications most important was the weekly Das Schwarze Korps, 
published by the S& It contained the most outspoken statements on the' character and 
methods of Nari antisemitism. Another indispensable 'work, which contains a great quantity 
of new material, Is Wctardch, Max* Hitler's Professors (New York 1946).- 


"parasites," for whom the defeat of Germany had made accessible positions 
formerly not open to them. That Hitler had his first successes in Bavaria 
is a particularly impressive proof of the opposition of the conservative 
groups to the existing order, the Weimar Republic. The Bavarian con- 
servatives were deeply ashamed of their collapse in the November days. 
The revolutionary Prime Minister was Kurt Eisner, a Prussian Jew- 
both antisemitism and traditional anti-Prussianism made of him a con- 
venient scapegoat. The Bavarian conservative bureaucrats, who bear a 
heavy responsibility for starting Hitler's career, believed as the behavior 
of von Kahr demonstrates that it would be easy to control this un- 
educated and inexperienced demagogue. Antisemitism was welcome or 
at least tolerated as a form of protest against the hated new regime. 

Another general trend favored Hitler's antisemitism. Formerly, 
political antisemitism was hampered only by its identification with the 
radical opposition to the existing regime, anti-nationalist Social Democ- 
racy. Now the socialists had gained power; socialist leaders were often 
members of the cabinets in the Reich as well as in the various Laender; 
trade unions were now recognized as important political and social 
factors. This caused great resentment among those who were not accus- 
tomed to think of socialists and labor leaders as members of the flite. 
To see a socialist, even a Jewish politician, in a high administrative or 
government job appeared as something absurd and intolerable to old 
bureaucrats, middle-class people and officers. They acclaimed the cartoon 
depicting socialist ministers in bathing trunks, distributed in 1919, as a 
symbol of the despised and hated republican regime. To attack President 
Ebert because he had been a saddler and his wife a maid, became a kind 
of pastime in society circles. Antisemitism was the form in which radical 
negation of the existing order could be most easily expressed by groups 
which had no revolutionary tradition. Antisemitism appeared as a nega- 
tion of the republic and aimed at the restoration of the old regime with 
some improvements which would exclude the influence of anti-German 
forces e.g., of the various anti-nationalist parties and of Jews, thus 
making another national collapse impossible. 

At the same time antisemitism could attract those interested in 
radical social changes. The Jews were decried as the symbol of the infla- 
tion and depression which had destroyed the status of many of the middle 
class. The Jews were to adopt the terminology so successfully used by 
National Socialist agitators the representatives of exploiting, parasitic, 


finance capitalism which was utterly opposed to the productive capitalist 
system, wherein the creative entrepreneurs and leaders of industries 
organize production and apply new methods for the benefit of the whole 
people. Some scandals (Kutisker, Barmat) , in which Jews played a role 
and which were over-emphasized by skillful propaganda, not only in 
the Nazi press but in all anti-republican papers helped to popularize 
this distinction. Jews became symbols of the speculation and the easy way 
of moneymaking, which developed during the inflation. The fact that 
some Jews from the East had, during the inflation, bought houses cheaply 
and then moved away from Berlin after the stabilization of the mark, 
abandoning their property, was seen as characteristic of Jewish destruc- 
tive influence in economic life. 

Anticapitalism was now taken seriously as a form of antisemitism. 
That was very harmful to the socialists. They appeared as allies of capi- 
talism, not only because they supported the republican regime in power, 
which was accused of favoring capitalist exploitation, but also because 
they were opposed to antisemitism. Before World War I antisemitism 
had served as a weapon of social criticism only for limited groups, e.g., 
the peasants in Hesse who claimed to suffer from Jewish usury, or re- 
stricted middle-class groups who voted for one of the antisemitic parties. 
The collapse of traditional political institutions, the emergence of men 
of humble background, who sometimes wore ill-fitting top-hats and striped 
trousers, in the place of the Kaiser with his impressive uniform and 
glamorous companions, and particularly the insecurity experienced 
during the inflation period, all these transformed antisemitism from a 
parochial into a national affair. 

Why did communist propaganda, directed against the Weimar Re- 
public and the socialists, fail to win the proletarized middle class, the 
peasants suffering from low prices, the officers resentful of their new 
and none too lucrative jobs? Communist propaganda had but a limited 
appeal. It was able only to win a group of workers who, according to the 
communists, would be the leading class, destined to shape the future 
society, and some intellectuals who loved paradoxical, complicated con- 
structions as, e.g., "National Bolshevism," or who satirized the petty- 
bourgeois outlook of the democratic labor leaders. Peasants and middle- 
class men were more responsive to an appeal which promised the restora- 
tion of the traditional past, securely prosperous, aftd were convinced by 
the antisemitic explanation of Germany's insecurity and the crisis. In 


addition, the communists were linked with Russia, whereas most 
Germans were not fascinated by Russian literature and religion, as were 
some sophisticated intellectuals; they* considered the Russians an inferior 
people now under Jewish domination. By contrast, antisemitic nationalism 
seemed something natural and acceptable, even though many who voted 
the National Socialist ticket did not take it very seriously. They con- 
sidered their vote simply as a protest vote signifying their abandonment 
of the old moderate liberal leaders, who, having accomplished nothing, 
would have to be replaced by new ones. 

The Social Basis of Hitler's Antisemitism 

Hitler's antisemitism was as we have tried to show in no way 
original. His philosopher was Rosenberg, whose Myth of the 20th 
Century was a rehash of Chamberlain's Foundations by a man with no 
education. Rosenberg, in spite of his wide reading, had remained an 
ignoramus, oversimplifying everything and compensating for his de- 
ficiencies by a monomaniacal fanaticism. The works of the National- 
Socialist expert on racism, H. Guenther, were more accurate in the pre- 
sentation of fact but his interpretations were dictated by a love for the 
fantastic Nordic race, to which everything good was ascribed, in contrast 
to the "mongrel" Jews, in whom nothing but evil inhered. Hitler was 
decisively influenced by Schoenerer who had used antisemitism as a means 
of intensifying German nationalism. 'But Hitler was too skillful a propa- 
gandist to repeat the error committed by Schoenerer and General Luden- 
doirff: he did not attack many enemies at the same time. It is noteworthy 
that in Mein Kampf Hitler criticized Schoenerer (also aiming, of course, 
at the Prussian general) for his open war against the Catholic Church. 

It was thus not just by chance that the survivors and successors of 
the older antisemitic groups either joined Hitler or were swept away by 
his movement. He could, on the one hand, successfully use for his pur- 
poses crackpots such as Dinter, who Wks the author of a ludicrous best- 
seller, Sin Against the Blood, devoted to the exposure of the diabolical, 
systematic sexual attack of the Jews directed against the "Aryan race;" 
Dinter, however, became the leader of an "Aryan" spiritual religion, 
broke with National Socialism and was soon forgotten. Hitler was also 
able to attract to his party ruthless demagogues without any general 
political program, such as Knueppel-Kunze, who once won enough votes 
to elect three of his followers to the Reichstag, an achievement made 


possible only by the system of proportional representation. But if Hitler's 
ideology was not different at the beginning of his public career, when 
he himself had probably not yet realized the possibilities and the future 
extent of his success from the old-fashioned racial antisemitism, the social 
basis of his movement was much broader than that of his forerunners. 
This success was due to the rise of a new nationalism which Hitler ex- 
ploited. Nationalism had been kept within bounds during the Reich of 
Bismarck, but these effective checks disappeared under the Weimar Re- 
public. The transformation of a liberal into a totalitarian nationalism, 
appealing to the masses and uniting them under the leadership of Hitler, 
was accomplished under the banner of antisemitism. 

Bismarck was a most skillful exploiter of the nationalism which 
expressed the longing, particularly of German intellectuals and business- 
men, for German political unity. His Reich did not embrace all German- 
speaking groups. As a result he was greatly embarrassed by Schoenerer's 
pro-Hohenzollern and anti-Habsburg agitation, whose nationalistic mass 
base was unintelligible to him. Bismarck was also very anxious not to 
offend Russia by displaying a deep interest in the affairs of the Baltic 
Germans. German nationalism was checked by the Prussian tradition, 
which considered that the basic elements of political unity were the 
bureaucracy and the army under the control of the monarch. The 
bureaucracy was inclined to follow established rules and the monarchs 
felt themselves bound by constitutions. Though leading German states- 
men, as well as outstanding representatives of German learning, regarded 
parliamentary government as anti-German, constitutionalism was gen- 
erally accepted, even by Bismarck himself, who, however, was always 
eager to remain independent of parliamentary majorities, to be the master 
manipulating the representative bodies according to his wishes. Another 
check was the liberalism of the majority of the educated world, of the 
"national," bourgeois, non-socialist parties. This liberalism, it is true, 
lost more and more of its universalist-humanitarian character. Symbolic 
of this development was the tragedy of the 100-day reign of the sincerely 
liberal Frederick III. The pan-Germans, eager to win "a place in the 
sun" for Germany, to make her a naval and colonial world power, were 
recruited from professors and businessmen, traditionally liberal. But 
these nationalists, who sought to imitate British imperialism and dreamed 
of Germany's mission to xnaster the yellow and colored races and" the 
inferior Slavs, were opposed to mass rule. They believed in the necessity 


of ruling the masses. In applying pseudo-Darwinian ideas, they played 
with racialism but it did not occur to them that it would be possible to 
create a totalitarian state on the basis of racial mythology. The pan- 
Germans did not attempt to stir up mass emotions and to manipulate 
them. Their efforts were devoted to winning the &ite and to influencing 
those in power, often by campaigns of denunciation and by intrigues, 
as that directed, e.g., against Chancellor Bethmann-Hollweg during 
World War L 

Hitler and his friends, of course, were masters of intrigue and of ex- 
ploiting social connections. But the decisive cause of Hitler's success was 
that, unlike the pan-Germans, he understood the importance of the 
masses in nationalistic agitation, and that, unlike Stoecker, he knew how 
to organize them. He may be characterized as the pan-German mass 
leader, whereas the old pan-Germans addressed themselves only to the 
ruling and social &ite. Hitler's appeal to the masses took the form of 
antisemitic mythology. 

This mythology, in contrast to the parochial appeals of the earlier 
antisemitic demagogues and sectarians, corresponded to general needs and 
trends. Germany had been defeated but by the universal enemy who 
had been able to exploit the naivet of the innocent Germans. The Jew, 
the Elder of Zion, was not only the enemy of Germany, but of mankind. 
It was precisely in bad times that he prospered. The recovery of the 
period of Locarno was only a provisional one, a mask behind which the 
Jew would soon reappear. This mythology was very simple. Certain 
"facts" were used as starting points, Jewish exploiters of the inflation, 
the increase of Jewish officials, the influx of Jewish refugees from the 
East. At the same time it presented an easy "explanation": not the 
visible reality mattered but the mysterious determining forces. This 
mythology appealed to quite diverse social groups: to reactionaries who 
hated the new regime; to intellectuals impatient with moderate utili- 
tarian policies; to students in vain search of jobs; to middle-class men 
and peasants, who did not understand why the economic machinery, in 
spite of all their labors, was breaking down; to crackpots who sought 
new German beliefs; and to Christians horrified by secularization, eccen- 
tric arts, public immorality, etc. It was, moreover, most important that 
this antisemitic mythology could be presented as the only program 
capable of destroying the bolshevik threat and of creating a strong united 
. Germany, which would fulfill a world mission. The Jew in his dual role 


as bolshevik and capitalist was the devil; the fight against him kept the 
most varied groups together, Jewish domination explained all defeats 
and economic crises. Hatred of the Jew brought freedom from the 
necessity of complex rational analyses and painful reflection, as well as 
from the necessity of searching for personal faults and responsibilities. 

The antisemitic mythology intensified the hysteria which made 
possible the enthusiastic submission of the masses to a new lite, appar- 
ently untainted by the weaknesses of the old order of gullibility and 
compromises. This hysteria expressed itself in a fanatical belief in the 
ability of these new leaders to build up the New Reich, a belief at once 
pseudo-religious and pseudo-scientific. Hitler's unification of the German 
people would correspond to the "scientific" racial laws, whose dearest 
negative expression was the definition of the Jews as the counter race, 
as the men of evil and poisonous blood. A conservatism disappointed by 
the victory of the democratic parties over the traditionally ruling dite 
could be swept away by this mythology, apparently so precise and at the 
same time so ambiguous. Before it communist propaganda appeared 
helpless and merely as its useful, involuntary justification. The anti- 
semitic mythology of Hitler seemed to be an appeal to fight for tradi- 
tional values people, religion, and what the Nazi party called positive 
Christianity, to which Hitler made his first appeal after his appointment 
as Chancellor. Communism, on the other hand, was opposed to all tradi- 
tion and could be successful only among those who were either completely 
uprooted and believed in a rationalist Utopia of a perfectly rational 
world, or who were heirs of the old Marxist tradition and education. 

What had been impossible before Germany's defeat in 1918 and the 
collapse of its institutions, and before social and economic insecurity 
had become a universal threat during the years of inflation, was now 
possible: the creation of a nationalist movement based upon the hate of 
the Jew as the symbol and incarnation of all evil forces and trends of 
decay. The masses disappointed by the moderate parties, youth despising 
the complicated discussions of tacticians who seemed to be cowards, fearful 
of all responsibilities and decisions, unpolitical elements, attracted by 
showmanship and a display of strength and the will to power, were ia no 
way shocked by the crudest antisemitic agitation. They enjoyed the 
sensational story that a Jewish chain restaurant in Cologne h^d tftved 
--and to a popular sports hero-a dead mouse in a dish of awaf gew; they 
amused by the campaigns of Dr. Goebbels against "Jtfidor," as &e 


called the Berlin police vice-president, Dr. Weiss; they admired that 
ascetic vegetarian, Hitler, the son of the people, the unknown soldier, 
who dared to" act not only against socialist and democratic officials, but 
also against rotten reactionaries who had dealings with Jews and, fearful 
of Jewish money and social connections, did not become antisemites. 

On the other hand, many sophisticated intellectuals and conservatives, 
who disliked obvious coarseness and brutality, believed (or persuaded 
themselves to believe) that Hitler's mythology was merely a Machiavel- 
lian game necessary to win the masses. Once they destroyed the Weimar 
Republic, they believed, the Nazis would adapt themselves to realities. 
Chancellor Hitler with his ruthless antisemitism would not rule; the real 
power would be in the hands of such men as Vice Chancellor von Papen 
and Minister of Economy; General Director Hugenberg. Curiously 
enough, this belief was shared by the moderate parties. They could not 
believe that even if Nazi mythology would carry the election, it would 
determine state policy. They saw in Hitler not the introducer of the 
techniques and policies of the mass-age into German life but simply a 
party leader among other party leaders, possibly a mbre skillful dema- 
gogue but not a revolutionary who would make antisemitism a basic 
force both at home and in world politics. 

From the "Aryan Paragraph" to Extermination 

Immediately upon his accession to political power Hitler was forced 
into a difficult tactical course. He had to appear as a reasonable, moderate 
man and at the same time not lose the confidence of those among his 
followers who looked for a complete change of political and social condi- 
tions and would not be satisfied with the substitution of a somewhat 
modernized imperial regime for the Weimar Republic. These apparently 
incompatible requirements also determined his tactics in carrying out 
his antisemitic program. Those who expected that a "night of long 
knives" against Jews would follow his appointment as chancellor proved 
to be wrong. Legality was emphasized. At first the new government did 
not berate the Jews or call for antisemitic legislation. Jewish-owned 
newspapers believed that if they were careful they would be able to 
survive the regime,- for the first press ordinance of Hitler's cabinet per- 
mitted a swift recourse to the courts, which sometimes reversed the 
official suppression of a publication. .The electoral campaign f6r the 
Reichstag involved some violence against the Jews; the Reichstag fire 


provided another, occasion for violence by Stormtroopers and the SS, 
against whom the police at first did not dare and soon was unwilling to 
act. Only after the new Reichstag was elected and after the necessary 
two-thirds majority for the enabling law was secured by the exclusion of 
the communists, were the antisemitic governmental policies initiated. 
To make them appear to be a response to popular demands, a Jewish 
boycott, a voluntary affair in theory only, was organized by the party. 
The cabinet, dominated by Hitler, then issued the first antisemitic legis- 
lation. "Non-Aryans," with the exception of office-holders whose tenure 
antedated 1914 and of active participants in World War I, lost their 
civil service jobs. This measure was soon extended to the professions 
(lawyers, physicians, etc.) . Racial criteria were applied: a "non-Aryan" 
was a person who had one grandparent of Jewish descent, generally to be 
determined by religion. This legislation was advanced by official propa- 
ganda as a purely defensive measure. Hitler in an interview made the 
astonishing and, of course, false statement that a majority of civil servants 
were Jews. The detafls of the legislation which followed this first anti- 
semitic law are not of very general interest. Their aim was obvious: to 
exclude for all time as many "non-Aryans" as possible from public life, 
from the professions and from any influence on artistic and cultural life. 
Dr. Goebbels' Kulturkammer, with its compulsory membership, did not 
accept "non-Aryans." The pretext for the April boycott was the Jewish 
emigrants. Inasmuch as these emigrants had attacked the Third Reich, 
the need of self-defense brought forth, as Dr. Goebbels explained, the 
anti-Jewish laws. In this first period, however, no official general economic 
war against the Jews was conducted. True, under pressure important 
Jewish enterprises were sold at nominal prices and Jews were barred 
from dealing with government and municipal agencies, but in the early 
years, and particularly while General Director Schmitt was Minister of 
Economy (1938-34), official spokesmen asserted that Jewish business 
would be tolerated. Even more remarkable is the fact that there was no 
cancellation of the political rights of native Jewish citizens. Only the 
naturalization of "non-Aryan*" was cancelled, incidentally revealing that 
the stories of mass-naturalization of East-European Jews were not true. 

All this changed in 1935 with the Nuremberg legislation. The Jews 
were thereby deprived of citizenship and were reduced to the status of 
subjects; marriage and sexual intercourse between Jew and "Aryans" 
were forbidden. Jews were not allowed to employ am "Aryari" woman 


under 40 years of age as servant. This legislation, preceded by a publicity 
raiT7p?ign against alleged Jewish sexual criminals, was presented as a last 
attempt to secure peaceful relations between Germans and Jews. The 
threat was made that if the Jews did not behave, the party would take over. 

National Socialist antisemitisin, not content with the fulfillment of 
the party program, went further. A campaign was begun to bar Jews and 
other "non-Aryans 99 in some cases the criterion of the Jewish grand- 
parent was waived from all professions and business life. The assassina- 
tion of a secretary of the German embassy in Paris, vom Rath, was the 
pretext, not only for party-organized pogroms, burning of synagogues 
and ?w arrests, but for the completion of the anti-Jewish legislation. 
Jews were excluded from schools. They were not allowed to have shops. 
They had to pay a heavy "fine." Ghettos were established and Jews were 
not allowed to enter certain parts of Berlin. Previously restricted to the 
use of a few marked benches in the parks, they were now completely 
excluded from parks as well as from museums, libraries and theaters. The 
Jews had to accept special names, which seemed at least to the Nazi 
officials particularly ugly and grotesque. Everything was prepared for 
the beginning of the policy of extermination, which was put into effect 
after 1941. After the conquest of Poland in October 1939 Jews were sent 
to the environs of Lublin. After 1941 they were sent to extermination 
centers, where they were killed if they were judged unable to do hard 
work under particularly severe conditions. They received starvation 
wages and had no rights under social welfare legislation, etc. But a 
certain distinction appears to have been made between non-German and 
German Jews for some German Jews were sent to Theresienstadt, where 
a few of them managed to survive the harsh conditions. 

The andsemitic policy of Hitler logically fulfilled itself in this policy 
of total extermination, a policy for which there had been warnings in 
public statements by Hitler that the Jews must disappear from Europe. 
The alleged necessity of def ezjding the Germans against Jewish preponder- 
ance in the civil service, law and the professions soon became a policy 
of complete exclusion, and finally the Jews were deprived even of the 
primary human right, of the right to live. If the Jews could not be used 
for hard labor, or occasionally for skills which could not be found else- 
where, they were regarded as parasites and exterminated as cheaply as 
possible. The costs of the gas-chambers were covered by taking away 
their clothing, collecting their wedding rings, gold teeth, etc Sometimes 


the ashes were used as fertilizer. Duehring's program had become a reality 
in a form which even that monomaniacal hater of the Jews as the anti- 
natural race had not imagined. 

But why was this culmination of total antisemitism reached only 
gradually? There were some elements in the German people who had to 
be taken into consideration; many conservatives would not have accepted 
extermination camps in 1933; therefore some concessions to their feelings, 
e.g., exemption of "non-Aryan" war veterans, were necessary. But as the 
regime became stronger its ruthlessness grew. Strange as it seems, Hitler 
and his friends apparently believed the fantastic stories of a tremendous 
Jewish world power, and therefore went ahead cautiously. Some appar- 
ent concessions, such as abandonment of the boycott in 1933 after one day, 
were useful in misleading politicians who were unable to realize that a 
ruthless policy could be carried out in installments. Besides, the Jew 
could be used as the enemy of the Third Reich. All Gerpaans formed 
the "community of the people," and this community was held together 
by hatred of the diabolical Jew, the eternal enemy. The Jew was the 
figure outside that community, eternally plotting its destruction. He 
was the eternal scapegoat. Whereas all other enemies were as a National* 
Socialist pamphlet put it only temporary enemies, the Jew was always 
the foe, the inveterate and unchangeable hater of the German "people's 

The "eternal Jew" was not only a scapegoat for the diversion of 
emotions; the Jews were made responsible for unemployment, the scarcity 
of jobs for intellectuals, economic failures, the "encirclement" of Germany 
and the spread of hatred for Germany throughout the world; the Jew 
prospered in periods of misery. He also served as the mythical counter- 
part of the German "people's community" under the leadership of Hitler 
and the Nazi hierarchy. Alexander Stein has correctly pointed out in his 
book on the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" that the Nazis practised 
the very methods they ascribed to the world-masters of their fantasy. 
The combination of racialism with the same belief in themselves as the 
chosen people, attributed by the Nazis to the Jews-the most vulgar anti- 
Semitic propagandist, Julius Streicher, used to quote some sentences from 
the Old Testament in support of racialism-was used by the Nazis to 
build up their concept of the master race: the good race ought to dominate 
the world whereas the fevil race or the evil mixture of bud races, ra 
destined to be defeated. Even after the Jew bad disappeared from public 


life the antisemitic myth continued to work successfully. World Jewry was 
not yet defeated. It had been infuriated and would try by all means, 
especially by stirring up another war, to destroy the healthy German 
"people's community" and the European "new order" of the Third 

The "Eternal Jew" could also be used for political and social experi- 
ments and, on the broadest scale, for "educational" purposes. 76 The prin- 
ciple of extermination of parasitic people could be applied against him; 
the "master" instincts and the inhuman attitude required of the rulers 
could be produced and cultivated in the concentration and extermination 
camps with their horrors* The myth of the evil, parasitic "eternal Jew" 
was the clearest expression that there was no unity of mankind. The 
Nazi doctrine that the lowest human racial group is closer to the animal 
than to the "higher" human race, is most easily demonstrated by the 
behavior of the SS and other "61ite" elements toward those destined to 
be exterminated, chiefly Jews. 

Another motive for the continuation and intensification of anti- 
semitism even after the alleged Jewish predominance in some fields of 
public life had been completely reversed, was the desire to replace Jews 
with Germans as leading groups, particularly in Eastern Europe. P. H. 
Seraphim, who became the "scientific" apologist for the complete expul- 
sion of the Jews from Europe, a program, which could be (and was) 
easily "perfected" into a program of extermination observed in his study 
on Eastern Jewry that the Eastern Slavic peoples, because of their back- 
wardness, require the Jew as an important economic element. 77 The 
extermination of the Jew, after he had been worked almost to death or 
after his usefulness as artisan or skilled worker had ended, was designed 
to make room for the German 61ite in Eastern Europe. These would not 
need Jewish middlemen; they could dominate and exploit directly. The 
extermination of the Jews would even be accepted with enthusiasm, or at 
least not be opposed by some "natives," who regarded the Jews as ex- 

n Taylor, A. J. P., The Course of German History (London 1945) remarks: "The Jews 
became the helpless objects on which millions of Germans Erst exercised the brutality 
essential if Germany was to dominate Europe." 

"Seraphim, Peter H., Das Judentum im osteuropaeischen Raum (Essen 1938). Prof. 
Seraphim developed his program of expulsion of all Jews from Europe in Weltkampf. Die 
Judenfrage in Geschichte und Gegenwart (April -September 1941) . This periodical was edited 
as Wissenschaftliche Viertcljahrsschrijt des Instituts zur Erforschung des Judentums by W. 
Grau. It is obvious that the program of Seraphim was destined to prepare the mass ex- 
termination of the Jews. 


ploiters, as responsible for all social evils. 78 Thus the extermination of 
the Jews, particularly in Eastern Europe, was also destined to win sym- 
pathizers for German domination. 

Nazi Antisemitism in International Politics 

The analysis of the extermination policy demonstrates the error of 
those who ascribe the intensification of antisemitism in the Third Reich 
exclusively to an individual pathological complex of Hitler and of his 
friends. The extermination and its unspeakable cruelties were certainly 
a source of pleasure for the antisemitic sadists. These pleasures increased 
as the victims became more and more helpless, more and more objects to 
be completely humiliated, defiled and debased. But these actions of ex- 
termination and torture also served the most important political pur- 
poses. Their role was of central importance not only for the inner Ger- 
man aspect of the Nazi regime. The Nazis used antisemitism as a powerful 
weapon in the fight for world domination, and Hannah Arendt is not 
alone in her belief that international antisemitism, as developed by the 
Nazis, has not yet become an affair of the past. 79 

Antisemitism on an international scale, of course, existed before Hitler 
came into power. At the height of Stoecker's activities antisemitic inter- 
national conferences were called together. Chamberlain subtly charac- 
terized the Jew as the enemy of the productive Germanic peoples and 
their civilization; Christian conservatives regretted and opposed anti- 
traditional, secularized Judaism as a menace to Christian peoples and 
their tradition. The rise of bolshevism after World War I contributed 
to the fear of a world revolution under Jewish leadershipthe fact that 
the Jewish middle class was most severely hurt by the bolshevik economic 
policy was overlooked. Instead it was emphasized that there were Jews 
among the bolshevik leaders in Russia and in Hungary. This was done 
not only by professional antisemites but even in diplomatic dispatches. 
Formerly, only ultra-conservative circles had feared an alliance of Jewish 

*Seton-Watson, H., Eastern Europe between the Wars, 1918-41 (Cambridge, England 
1945) writes (p. 384g,) : "A weapon of German diplomacy was antisemitism. . . . Nazi persecu- 
tion of the Jews serVed not only to find a scapegoat for popular discontent within Germany, 
but to win the Third Reich popularity abroad. The young men of the Rumanian-Hungarian 
and Polish bourgeoisies . . . came to regard Germany as a Promised Land of social justice, 
fighting for the rights of the oppressed victims of the World Jewish Plot." 

* Arendt, Hannah, "Tte Seeds of a Fascist International/' in Jewish frontier (June 


money-power and revolutionary movements, but after World War I this 
fear was shared by circles that had been progressive and liberal. 

The organization and open promotion of antisemitic feelings in the 
pre-World War I period was effectively prevented by the fact that anti- 
semitism appeared to be connected with the Tsarist government (which 
did not have any particular prestige) , with rotten Rumania, or, as in 
France, with occasionally intelligent but often eccentric reactionaries, who 
allied themselves with the mob during the Dreyfus affair. The existence 
of antisemitic parties in Germany was seen as one of the proofs of the 
backwardness of German political life. But after World War I the situa- 
tion changed. There was not only the fear of "Jewish" bolshevism, but 
there was also a rising disappointment with the progressive democratic 
order established by the outcome of the war. This situation permitted the 
Nazis to use antisemitism systematically on the international scene. This 
is overlooked by those who overestimate the value of public condemnation 
of antisemitism and are surprised to discover how Nazi antisemitism was 
able to exploit moderate and unconscious forms of antisemitism for its 

The government and the ruling party of the Third Reich supported 
and organized antisemitic propaganda centers; literature was spread by 
the Fichte Gesellschaft and by the Erfurt Welt Dienst** These activities 
skillfully fostered and exploited the belief that any opposition to the 
Third Reich of Adolf Hitler was dictated by Jewish interests. Why 
should Nazism have aroused opposition to Germany abroad? Were not 
the Versailles Treaty and the harsh treatment of the German people 
responsible for the Nazis? Would not the bad features of Nazism, such 
as the scurrilous antisemitism of Hitler, be removed in the long run? 
Were these evil aspects not compensated for by such achievements as the 
disappearance of unemployment and the rise of a new enthusiastic belief 
after years of despair and hopelessness? Nazi antisemitism, though pub- 
licly condemned and deplored, helped to paralyze energetic action against 

80 A survey of National Socialist "scientific" antisemitic activities is to be found in 
Forschungen zur Judenfrage, vol. 5 (Hamburg 1941) . Walter Frank and Wilhelm Grau, who 
originally co-operated in starting the Nazi research on Jews, later quarrelled bitterly. Grau 
joined the Institut zur Erforschung des Juden turns, opposed to Frank's Reichinstitut fuer 
Geschichte des Neuen Deutschland. W. Frank, the author of the Stoecker biography, in his 
survey of antisemitic research attacks a publication of Grau ... as too clerical, but he 
himself appointed Grau after this publication as executive secretary for the research on 
Jews to be organized by his Reichsinstitut. On the relations between Grau and Frank cf. 
Weinreich, op. dt., 53 f., 101 ff. 


the Nazi regime. After all, not only the English conservatives believed 
that the Jews had too much power and wealth in Republican Germany. 
In the eyes of many non-German observers Nazi antisemitism was an ex- 
treme and unjust but understandable reaction which would soon give 
way to a more reasonable attitude. The paralyzing effect of Nazi anti- 
semitism visible even among some statesmen of Jewish origin, who were 
anxious to appear as "objective" as possible increased when Hitler openly 
started to exploit the fear of war. The Jews were pictured more and 
more not only as communists but as warmongers. The Jews had been 
accused of trying by all means to prevent the rise of a "people's com- 
munity" in Germany; for, as Nazi propaganda shouted, the Jew realized 
that the unification of the German people would deny him the oppor- 
tunity of thriving as a parasite on party strife and class struggle. Now this 
propaganda scheme was applied to the international scene. Only the 
Jews and their conscious and unconscious tools were against Germany 
and therefore for war. Statesmen and public figures disliked by Nazis 
were declared to be Jews President Roosevelt was made the scion of a 
Jewish family, and Pope Pius XI, who opposed racialism, was also pic- 
tured as of Jewish origin. 

It would be wrong to measure the success of this antisemitic propa- 
ganda by its visible consequences. Neither the rise and increase of anti- 
semitic movements, as e.g., of the Iron Guard in Rumania, nor the intro- 
duction of racialist legislation into Italy by the same Mussolini who, in 
his interviews with Emil Ludwig, had satirized antisemitism and ex- 
pressed contempt for it, were as important as the creation of an atmos- 
phere. Such avowed allies and tools as Quisling were far less useful for 
Hitler, than those men who sincerely rejected his barbarous policies, but 
who refused, as they put it, to plunge the world into chaos for the rescue 
or revenge of the Jews. Underestimating Hitler, they waited until the 
war they had tried at all costs to avoid, had become a reality. Pacifism 
and the acceptance of Hitler's anti-communism were powerful factors in 
shaping this mentality of appeasement, but the overconscious emphasis 
upon the influence of the Jews cultivated by Hitler's antisemitic policies 
was not the least important among them. 

An energetic policy against Hitler appeared as a policy likely to plunge 
the world into a new world war in the interest of the Jews and it was 
added that such a, world catastrophe would not help the Jews. Hitler 
himself, obviously making use'of this outlook, announced that 


war would end with the destruction of the Jews in Europe. Antisemitism 
became a poison that intensified the pacifist attitude which, surely against 
the will of many of its leading representatives, allowed Hitler time for 
rearmament and enabled him to appear as a man crying for justice to 
Germany by removal of the injustices of Versailles. Antisemitism was not 
justified, but seemed psychologically understandable, as the evil product 
of deep underlying causes, particularly of the unjust treatment of Ger- 
many. In this way an energetic policy against Hitler seemed to be in 
reality shortsighted; such a policy could be useful only to Hitler, who 
could accuse the Jews of trying to disturb the peace of the world. Par- 
ticularly Jewish grievances ought not determine the fundamental line 
of national policies. 

Hitler's antisemitism managed to bring about appeasement policies 
abroad before Nazi legislation and extermination methods could become 
an article of export to countries which either were glad to imitate Ger- 
many or needed to win the goodwill of the Third Reich or were con- 
quered and administered by direct and indirect methods. This "ex- 
ported" antisemitism often boomeranged. There have been individuals 
even in Germany who disliked the elimination and extermination policies 
practiced against the Jews. Some authorities of church and society who 
could not or did not speak out publicly opposed these inhuman actions. 
Individual Jews and "non-Aryans" were rescued by these silent opponents 
of racial and inhuman antisemitism. Such practical, though politically 
powerless, opposition against the persecution of the Jews spread widely, 
particularly in those countries where, as in the Netherlands, in Italy, or 
in many French circles, the imported antisemitism appeared as a symbol 
of Nazi conquest and aroused feelings of Christian and human charity 
and solidarity. 81 

For this reason Hitler's antisemitic world campaign was not a com- 
plete success. As the extent and the methods of extermination became 
known in an irrefutable way after the Allied conquest of Germany, even 
those who had been rather neutral towards Nazi antisemitism were pro- 

81 Koppel S. Pinson writes: ". . . this much is undisputed fact: never has the papacy spoken 
in such unmistakable terms against racialism and antisemitism as in the words and deeds 
of the present pope, Pius XII, and his predecessor, Pius XI. In papal encyclicals and in 
public speeches these two pontiffs have unequivocally denounced antisemitism as dangerous 
and unchristian . . . Many a Jewish life was saved by priests and nuns who followed the 
example set by Pius XII towards the persecuted Jews/' "Antisemitism in the Post-War World," 
In Jewish Social Studies, vol. vii (1945) 103. 


foundly shocked and revolted. But this should not lead us to ignore the 
effectiveness of Hitler's use o antisemitism as a weapon of social revolu- 
tion and disintegration. Because an avowedly antisemitic party the 
Tsarist regime at its worst did not pretend to be based upon antisemitism 
was ruling powerful and respected Germany, anti-capitalist criticism 
everywhere could become at the same time an antisemitic movement. The 
antisemitic International was no longer an affair of some politicians with- 
out real influence or of some eccentric or barbarous crackpots, who saw 
Jewish Masons as world-masters and spent their money for the publica- 
tion of the antisemitic encyclopedia, Sigilla Veri. Now antisemitic anti- 
capitalism could replace international "Jewish" socialism and com- 
munism; the fear of bolshevism could be combined and not by parochial 
movements alone, which would influence only backward countries like 
Rumania with criticism of the wealthy and of the existing property dis- 
tribution. Antisemitism now appeared not only as a weapon against bol- 
shevism, but also as the basis of a real attempt to create a new social order, 
to increase political power, to found strong governments not hampered 
by Jewish gold and the alleged Jewish control of public opinion. The 
Jewish Devil could be used, on the one hand, to explain to those in 
privileged positions the threat of the masses and, on the other, to show 
the masses who was their real enemy the Jew with his allies and servants. 
Hitler and his antisemitism appeared as the salvation of the conservative 
world as well as the great anti-plutocratic revolution. 


Antisemitism in modern Germany began as a vague criticism directed 
against Jewish assimilation; acceptance of the Christian religion (by con- 
servatives) or complete submersion of the Jews in humanity and in the 
fight for a classless society (by non- and anti-Christian thinkers) was 
expected. The extent and the reality of assimilation were questioned, 
on Christian conservative grounds, as by Stoecker; on nationalist grounds, 
as by Treitschke, the opponent of Eastern Jewish immigration. The 
possibility of assimilation was completely denied by those who accepted 
racialism, whether in crude or more sophisticated forms (Duehring and 
Chamberlain) . Antisemitism became an "organized but parochial political 
movement which appealed to middle-class and traditionalist groups Buffer- 
ing from economic conditions. But during the empire of the Raisers anti- 
semitism did not bteorae>a political pofrer. It was* inftucaitiaj only in a 


covert, behind-the-scenes fashion in the form of the tacit exclusion of 
Jews from many leading positions or it was expressed by a cultural 
criticism directed against their spirit. The apparent replacement of the 
politically dominant classes after the loss of the war and the rise of the 
republic* the increasing and chronic social insecurity, which threatened 
not only the middle class and peasants but reduced the chances of intel- 
lectuals, professional men, students of law, medicine, etc., the coming of 
the socialists into power and their difficulty in maintaining and winning 
the adherence of discontented groups, the longing for simple explanations 
of the confused world and the breakdown of the traditional, national 
order such are the factors without which Nazi anrisemitism would have 
had no success. Antisemitism is the negative expression of the charismatic 
belief in the leader Hitler, the man sent by God to fight the diabolical 
Jew. Antisemitism made the vague internal and foreign policies of 'the 
Nazis appear dear and definite. 

Antisemitism is the expression of the change from liberal-democratic 
"nationalism, opposing super-or non-national government and traditional 
ruling classes, to the totalitarian variety, opposing liberalism, individual 
liberty and the freely expressed consent of the people, the multiplicity 
of parties and public discussion. Under the totalitarian regime the will 
of the one charismatic leader and his henchmen is the will of the people. 
The Jews are not only outcasts necessarily apart from the people; they are 
used to concentrate feelings of hatred; they prevent peace and order; they 
are proofs of the necessity of domination and subjugation. Antisemitism 
exploits conservative-traditionalist attitudes and corresponds to modern 
secularization: die race is a "scientific" and at the same time mythical 
basis. German nationalism combined with antisemitism opposes itself 
first, to Western democratic-liberal idea*, victorious in Germany only after 
a humiliating national defeat; secondly, to international bolshevism, 
which allegedly threatened to submerge the whole world, thus giving its 
German enemy a chance to pose as a world redeemer; thirdly, to capi- 
talistic imperialism, which had divided the world before the coming of 
Germany's hour, when Germany would impose the natural racial "new 
order." Nazi antisemitism filled the vacuum which was created by the 
collapse of the imperial regime and the lack of self-confidence of the 
republican and democratic groups. Antisemitism appeared as the myth 
which helped to unify the "people's community" and to permit the ex- 
ploitation of divergences as well as of internal weaknesses among those 


who were made responsible for the world of Versailles. Upon them Nazi 
Germany intended to impose a super-Versailles, bringing the true Ger- 
man world peace which, for Hitler, was domination of the world by 
Germany, in turn dominated by him and his henchmen. 


HANNAH ARENDT teaches in the history department of Brooklyn 
College and is a member of the research staff of the Commission on 
European Jewish Cultural Reconstruction. During 1933-1941 she was 
engaged in social work in France. Her publications include Die Lieb- 
esbegriff bei Augustin and numerous studies and essays in Jewish Social 
Studies^ Menorah Journal, Commentary, Review of Politics and other 

ZEVI DIESENDRUCK, who died in 1940, served as professor of Jewish 
philosophy at the Hebrew Union College for ten years. His extensive 
writings and translations included both Hebrew essays of literary value 
and contributions to the understanding of Plato and Maimonides. His 
posthumous life-work on the philosophy of Maimonides is being edited 
for publication. 

SOLOMON GRAYZEL is teacher of history at Gratz College (Phila- 
delphia) and editor of the Jewish Publication Society of America. He 
is the author of The Church and the Jews in the Xlllth Century (Phila- 
delphia 1933) and is a contributor to the Jewish Quarterly Review and 
Historia Judaica. 

WALDEMAR GURIAN received his doctorate at the University of Cologne 
and taught in the Berlin Hochschule fur Politik in 1931-32. In 1937 he 
joined the faculty of the University of Notre Dame, where he is professor 
of political science. He is editor of the Review of Politics and has pub- 
lished the following works in English: Bolshevism, Theory and Practice; 
Hitler and the Christians; The Future of Bolshevism; The Rise and 
Decline of Marxism. 

GUIDO KISCH is a native of Prague, where he served on the bench at 
the County Court of Appeals until 1915. He served later as professor of 
law at the universities of Leipzig, Konigsberg, Halle and Prague. After 
his dismissal by the Nazi government in 1933 he was professor of Jewish 
history at the Jewish Theological Seminary in Breslau and since 1937 he 
is professor of Jewish history at the Jewish Institute of Religion in New 
York City. He is a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research 
and editor of Historia Jud&ica. He is at present editing a ofce-volume 
encyclopedia entitled The Jews* 

RAPHAEL MAHUSR is a native ol Galicia and was graduated frqtii tp$e 
University of Vienna to 1922, He was teacher ' 


college* Ascola, in Warsaw. His scientific work in the field of Jewish 
history was carried on mainly in connection with the activities of the 
Yiddish Scientific Institute in Vilna. He was editor of Yunger histoiriker 
and Bleter far geshichte, publications issued by the Yivo. He has con- 
tributed numerous articles to the Encyclopadia Judaica, Yivo Bleter, 
Jewish Social Studies and other scholarly and popular journals. At pres- 
ent he is lecturer at the Jewish Teachers' Seminary of the Jewish National 
Workers 1 Alliance in New York City. His work in Yiddish on The 
Struggle between Haskalah and Hasidism in Galicia appeared in 1942. 

JACOB RADER MARCUS received his doctorate at the University of 
Berlin and is also a graduate of the Hebrew Union College, where he is 
professor of Jewish history since 1954. Among his publications are The 
Rise and Destiny of the German Jew (1934) and The Jew in the 
Medieval World (1938) . 

RALPH MARCUS is professor of Hellenistic Civilization at the Uni- 
versity of Chicago. He is a consulting editor of Webster's International 
Dictionary; a member of the Editorial Board of the Review of Religion; 
a fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research; author of Law 
in the Apocrypha, editions and translations of several volumes of Josephus 
and Philo (in press) in the Loeb Classical Library, and of a number of 
articles on Biblical history, religion and philology in various learned 

KOPPEL S. PINSON is Associate Professor of History at Queens College 
and Executive Editor of Jewish Social Studies. He was one of the editors 
of the Encyclopaedia of the Social Sciences and is author of Pietism and 
the Rise of German Nationalism (1934) , A Bibliographical Introduction 
to Nationalism (1935), The Third Reich, with Henri Lichtenbergcr 
.(1937) and numerous articles in learned periodicals as well as the article 
"Antisemitism" in the latest edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. 

JOSEPH REDDER received his doctorate at Dropsie College, Philadelphia, 
where he is professor of Biblical philology and librarian since 1913. He 
is author of Prolegomena to a Greek-Hebrew and Hebrew-Greek Index 
to Aquila (1916) , a Commentary on Deuteronomy (1937) and numerous 

SAMUEL ROSENBLATT is a graduate of The City College of New York 
and received his PhD. degree from Columbia in 1927. He was also 
graduated from the Jewish Theological Seminary in 1925. He was Hazard 
Fellow in the American School of Oriental Research ift Jerusalem in 
1925*26 and Rayner Fellow in Semitic Languages at Johns Hopkins Un*- 


versity in 1928-30. He is rabbi of the Beth Tfiloh Congregation in Balti- 
more since 1927 and lecturer on Jewish literature at Johns Hopkins 
University since 1930. Among his publications are The High Ways to 
Perfection of Abraham Maimonides, 2 vols. (New York and Baltimore 
1937-38) ; The Interpretation of the Bible in the Mishnak (Baltimore 
1935) ; Our Heritage (New York 1940) . 

MARK VISHNIAK was formerly professor of constitutional law at the 
Pedagogical Institute of Moscow and served as secretary-general of the 
Russian Constituent Assembly in 1918. After his emigration from Russia 
he was professor at the Russian School of Law in the Institut des fitudes 
Slaves and at the Franco-Russian Institute of Paris (1922-40) ; visiting 
professor at the Academy of International Law, The Hague, 1933; and 
editor-in-chief of Sovremenniya Zapiski (1920-40). He came to the 
United States in 1941 and is at present a member of the advisory com- 
mittee of the Institute of Jewish Affairs and collaborator of the Yiddish 
Scientific Institute. Among his numerous publications the following are 
the most important: Personality in Law (Petrograd 1917, in Russian) ; 
The Protection of Minorities in the International Treaties of 1919-20 
(Paris 1920 in French, and 1926 in Russian) ; The All-Russian Con- 
stituent Assembly (Paris 1932, in Russian) ; The Oppression of the Jews 
in Germany and the League of Nations (Paris 1933, in French) ; The 
International Status of Stateless Persons (Paris 1934, in French) ; Lenin 
(Paris 1932) ; Lion Blum (Paris 1937) ; Doctor Weizmann (Paris 1939) . 

ISRAEL S. WECHSLER, chief neurologist at Mt. Sinai Hospital, New 
York, is clinical professor of neurology at Columbia University since 
1931. His publications include Text-Book of Clinical Neurology (1927) 
and The Neuroses (1929) and numerous articles. 

BERNARD D. WEINRYB, a native of Poland, received the Ph.D. degree 
from the University of Breslau (1931) . He served as librarian of the 
Jewish Theological Seminary and of the University of Breslau from 1928 
to 1932. He has lectured on the social sciences in Palestine and carried 
on sociological research on behalf of the Jewish Agency. In America he 
has been research fellow of the American Academy for Jewish Research 
and is at present director of the Jewish Teachers' Seminary in New Yoric. 
His numerous scholarly contributions have appeared m many journal* 
and in encyclopedias; among his works are Studien zur Wirtschaftsgf- 
schichte der Juden in Russland und Polen in 18-19. Jahrhundert ilS 9ty 
and Neue$te Wirtectoftsgeschichte der Juden in Ru*sl&nd*und 
(1934) . He is editor of the journal Jewish Review: 

Presented to the Library by 
Mr, Edgar Stem 

to feonor the 60th 
of Mr.-Millard-Jiayer